Topical Questions

Part of Justice – in the House of Commons on 29th June 2021.

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Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

I thank my hon. Friend for speaking so strongly on behalf of his constituents. Colin Pitchfork’s offences were the gravest of crimes, and the families of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth still live with the pain that he caused. The independent Parole Board’s role is to assess whether he is safe for release, rather than whether he has been punished enough. I understand why this decision has affected public confidence. It has been reviewed by officials in my Department, and we found arguable grounds that the decision was irrational, so I have asked the Parole Board to reconsider it using the mechanism that my hon. Friend rightly identified.