Monday 20 December 2021 / 11:40 AM Coronavirus / Justice / Steve Reed

Steve Reed calls on Dominic Raab to stop defending rule-breaking and get on with his job

Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Steve Reed has called on Dominic Raab to stop wasting time defending Boris Johnson’s Covid rule-breaking and get on with his job, after yet again defending the Government’s rule-breaking Covid parties in the media.

Reed’s intervention comes after Raab today denied that No.10 staff were breaking Covid rules by gathering in the Downing Street garden together in May last year because officials were “all in suits”.

Responding to a photo published in The Guardian, showing the Prime Minister, his then-fiancée Carrie Symonds, and 17 other staff members in the garden on 15 May 2020, with bottles of wine and a cheeseboard on a table in front of the PM, Raab remarked during an interview with BBC Breakfast that, “this wasn’t a social occasion, it was staff having a drink after meetings.”

On 5 December this year, Raab refused to be drawn on whether a party took place at Downing Street in December 2020, remarking bizarrely that the Metropolitan Police would not investigate because they “don’t normally look back and investigate things that have taken place a year ago.” The Prime Minister later ordered a Cabinet Office inquiry into the party.

Later, on 7 December, Raab insisted on Sky News that there was no Christmas Party and that no rules had been breached.

Ministry of Justice data published in recent weeks shows that there are still 55,456 outstanding cases in the Crown Court, while the time victims have to wait for cases to be heard continues to increase.

The Ministry of Justice’s new rape offences scorecard is a catalogue of failure: in 2019 just 1.3% of recorded cases resulted in a charge while new figures show that for the first half of 2021 this fell to 0.65%.

Over the same period there was a 208% increase in the number of outstanding rape cases at Crown Court and a 496% increase in the number of crown court cases still outstanding after 12 months.

Steve Reed MPLabour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, said:

“Dominic Raab has spent hours this month taking the public for fools instead of dealing with the massive problems the Conservatives have created in the justice system.

“Raab and this high-tax, soft-on-crime Conservative Government should be tackling the courts backlog and raising the pitifully low conviction rate for rape in this country.

“It is yet another slap in the face of the British public, who will rightly think that it is one rule for Boris Johnson and this Government, and another rule for everyone else.

“Raab needs to stop wasting time defending the indefensible and start doing his job.”