Sentencing Reform/Legal Aid: 21st June 2011

Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
Does the Lord Chancellor agree that it was the last Labour Government who, having introduced IPPs, then changed the law for no other reason than to reduce the prison population? As for the thoroughly good idea that we now scrap IPPs, would we not thereby ensure that the public—the victims and, indeed, the offenders—were better protected and had greater justice?

Mr Clarke
I agree with my hon. Friend. I think that the reason the last Government introduced IPPs was that they were reducing the time of a sentence automatically served from three quarters to a half. They introduced what sounded like a tough measure, with these new indeterminate sentences. However, it immediately went wrong, and they introduced more legislation after two years to try to reduce the numbers. I regret to say that my first effort was to go in the same direction and reduce them even more. I hope that I have my hon. Friend’s support in saying that the best thing is to get rid of them and return to a sensible system of long, determinate sentencing.