Thornberry: Starmer ‘Weakened’ Rape Prosecutions When He Was DPP

Last night Labour infuriated the Tories by claiming on social media that the government had effectively decriminalised rape. A dangerously flawed attack line given that when Sir Keir Starmer was Director of Public Prosecutions in 2012, Labour attacked him for his decision to ‘weaken’ rape prosecution guidelines. In a Labour branded press release in the coalition years, Thornberry tore into Starmer by name:

“Emily Thornberry MP, Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, has today written to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, and the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, to demand an urgent rethink of the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to weaken guidelines that specialist barristers must deal with every stage of a rape prosecution.”

Thornberry added that new guidelines introduced under Starmer “weaken what was previously understood to be a commitment to use specially trained barristers in all rape-related hearings.Ouch…

Indeed, Vera Baird QC, who is now Victims Commissioner for England and Wales but was a Labour Police and Crime Commissioner candidate at the time, also criticised the CPS under Starmer. At the time she is quoted as saying: “The whole drive towards specially trained barristers for rape cases risks losing momentum and go into reverse. This is really shocking news, especially when you consider the extent to which the CPS has invested in this.

A sharp contrast to the widely criticised graphic published last night which instead claimed that “Under the Tories, rape has effectively been decriminalised.” The graphic was so controversial it was undoubtedly designed to be hate-shared. Clear upset from survivors has not let them to take down the provocative claim. Particularly bold of Starmer when he stands charged of ‘weakening’ rape prosecution guidelines, to now accuse others of the same thing. He would know…

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