No Body, No Parole Law

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th June 2018.

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Photo of Stephen Metcalfe Stephen Metcalfe Conservative, South Basildon and East Thurrock 12:00 am, 5th June 2018

What assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals on a no body, no parole law.

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend and to Conor McGinn for the incredible energy that has gone into this campaign. There is something peculiarly disgusting about the sadism involved when an individual murders somebody and then refuses to reveal the location of the victim’s body. There have been delays in framing the right kind of legal response, but I am absolutely confident that we can overcome that. Officials are now bringing forward advice that I hope will achieve, through a different method, exactly what hon. and right hon. Members have been campaigning for.

Photo of Stephen Metcalfe Stephen Metcalfe Conservative, South Basildon and East Thurrock

The introduction of a no body, no parole law, known as Helen’s law, is very important to my constituent Linda Jones, as the location of her daughter Danielle’s body has never been disclosed by her killer. Can my hon. Friend therefore tell the House what impact assessment has been commissioned or carried out to support this introduction?

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The Department has now proposed two options, which the Secretary of State and I will discuss over the coming days in order to get a solution. We are clear that refusing to reveal the location of a body is an absolutely disgusting practice, and we ought to be able to use legal methods to impose consequences on individuals who refuse to do so.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

Is the Minister aware that many of us would support such legislation, particularly if it were also linked to miscarriages of justice? People who are found to have been wrongly convicted and are released after spending years in prison come out with no compensation and no reintegration into society—surely that cannot be right.

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Perhaps I could sit down with the hon. Gentleman to discuss that in more detail. It is a very important subject, but I think the issue of miscarriages of justice is slightly different and perhaps we could take that offline.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

It was the only way I could get in.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

It is a phenomenon known in the House, or certainly known in this Speaker’s Office, as “shoehorning”: a colleague shoehorning in his own concern wherever he thinks he can get away with it.