Transparency of the Parole Board and Victim Support - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:32 pm on 9th January 2018.

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Photo of Lord Harris of Haringey Lord Harris of Haringey Labour 3:32 pm, 9th January 2018

My Lords, that brings us back to the question that the noble Lord, Lord German, asked, to which the Minister was not able to give an answer because of time. Has there been any pressure on the Parole Board to deal more speedily with the backlog of IPP cases? I think that we need to know. I understood that the principle of IPP sentences was to protect the public. Clearly, the view of many victims is that in this instance the public are not being protected. We need to know—and I would be grateful for the Minister’s answer—what pressure has been applied on the Parole Board to deal with that backlog.

While I am on my feet, could we pick up the point that the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, raised, which was the very interesting question that in the past Ministers took personal responsibility for some of these difficult cases? Is not there a value in what I believe is by and large sound political judgment being made by people, perhaps with a background of elective politics, looking at these cases and assessing whether in the mind of the wider public this is something that should be looked at, and that it is perhaps not in the public interest for such people to be released?