David Gauke: Yes, it is vital that these crimes be taken seriously. I think that there is consensus across the House and the country that they are, and certainly it is my intention that that continues to be the case.
David Gauke: I completely understand my hon. Friend’s point. As it currently stands, the Parole Board cannot provide in public the reasons for its decision. The chair of the Parole Board has made it clear that he wishes that it could, but the Parole Board rules—secondary legislation, essentially—prevents that from happening. One thing we will have to look at is what can be done to review...
David Gauke: The review will need to consider exactly those points and seek to address the concerns arising from this case, which the hon. Lady has summarised.
David Gauke: As always, my hon. Friend has made his case in a forthright manner, and his consistency is very evident. I dare say that today is not the last occasion on which he and I will debate this subject. I think we all agree that the public must have confidence in our criminal justice system and our sentencing policy.
David Gauke: It is very important for victims to be at the heart of our criminal justice system. A great deal of work has been undertaken with, for example, Baroness Newlove in her role as Victims Commissioner. We continue to look into how we can improve our criminal justice system to ensure that victims are given the support that they need.
David Gauke: Those points could certainly be considered in the review.
David Gauke: Whether the hon. Lady’s points are considered in the review or more generally, they are important points about the need to ensure that we have a system that is working.
David Gauke: My hon. Friend has made an important point about the need for women to feel safe, and we must ensure that the system provides that reassurance.
David Gauke: I will look at that case and, if I may, respond to the hon. Gentleman subsequently in greater detail.
David Gauke: I thank my hon. Friend for his remarks. As for the timescale, I said earlier that I expect the review to conclude by Easter.
David Gauke: I hear what the hon. Lady says. When I set out the case for reviewing transparency, I referred to the reasons that the Parole Board gives for a particular decision being put in the public domain. I think that we need to consider precisely what information can be put into the public domain, and that is the purpose of the review.
David Gauke: The House would rightly expect me to keep it fully informed, and I certainly undertake to do that.
David Gauke: The hon. Lady makes an important point. Clearly, as we look at the issue of transparency for Parole Board decisions, we shall need to look at the evidence with which the board is provided and review the extent to which it should be put in the public domain.
David Gauke: I am not in a position to provide details of the case. Those details are given to the Parole Board, and I am afraid I cannot say more than that.
David Gauke: First, let me briefly correct the hon. Gentleman: Worboys was convicted of 19 offences, and there was one conviction of rape. I do not say that in any way to undermine or belittle the seriousness with which his crimes should be considered. As I have said, sentences for rape have gone up over the last eight years, and I think it right that that has happened.
David Gauke: With permission, Mr Speaker, I should like to make a statement on the Parole Board’s decision to release John Worboys and the Government’s response to the issues raised by this case. I should like to start by echoing the statement made by my predecessor at the weekend, and expressing my unreserved sympathy to all of the victims. They will never erase the emotional trauma of John...
David Gauke: The Government has published its Automatic Enrolment Review 2017: Maintaining the Momentum as a Command Paper (CM 9546). A copy of the accompanying analytical report, which underpins this Review, has been placed in the Library. Since 2012, over 9 million people have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension and over 900,000 employers have met their duties. The workplace pension...
David Gauke: Over 5,000 employers have signed up to Disability Confident since its launch in November 2016. The Disability Confident business leaders group, made up of prominent national businesses, is promoting the scheme to other employers. I am pleased to report that all the main ministerial Government Departments have now achieved Disability Confident leader status.
David Gauke: I will certainly consider my hon. Friend’s kind invitation. I agree that a lot of Disability Confident events have been very productive in engaging employers at local level and encouraging them to see the benefits of employing disabled people. The Department for Work and Pensions continues to support local authorities and MPs in holding such events, so maybe I will have the opportunity...