Priti Patel mocks Keir Starmer ‘soft touch’ call for more leniency for criminals under-25

Priti Patel criticises Labour MP over 'tone' of comments

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The Labour leader suggested rapists, murderers and terrorists who committed offences below the age of 25 should be treated more leniently. But Home Secretary Priti Patel has hit out at Sir Keir accusing him of having a “soft touch on criminality”.

Ms Patel said: “We all know Keir Starmer tries to talk a tough game on law and order.

“But the evidence presented suggests otherwise.

“This week he voted against measures to increase jail sentences for child murderers, sex offenders and killer drivers.

“We now know he wants to go further by giving criminals and terrorists an easy ride.

“Sir Keir’s soft touch on criminality confirms the Labour Party’s desire to do more for the criminal minority than the law-abiding majority.”

Ms Patel’s comments come after the Labour leader told the youth charity My Life My Say there should be a “range of things” for people under 25.

He said: “We made quite a lot of adjustments for young people, either who were victims or young people who were defendants, because, you know, things are very different…

“We tend to think in the criminal justice system of people under 18 as young people, actually I think it should be under 25.

“There is a range of things for people under 25 that need to be accommodated in the criminal justice system.”

Following Ms Patel’s comments, a spokesperson for the Labour Party denied Sir Keir believed the age of young offenders should change.

They told the MailOnline: “This discussion was about the general approach to young people – both victims and defendants.

“Keir was not suggesting a change to the definition of young offenders – it is simply not something he believes in.

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“Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong.”

Before entering politics, Sir Keir, who used to run the Crown Prosecution Service, said the age of offenders should be given “significant weight” when issuing a sentence.

During a second reading of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, Labour opposed the legislation last week.

The Bill passed its first Commons hurdle after being backed by MPs in a crunch vote.

The Bill has far-reaching consequences with implications on everything from the sentencing of child murder to the right to protest.

The plans faced criticism from MPs on both sides of the House as well as from campaigners ahead of tonight’s vote.

However, despite the backlash, the Bill was supported by 359 MPs to 263.

An attempt by Labour to block the proposed legislation going through Parliament was rejected by MPs and the legislation will now move on to the next stage of debate.

The Bill would give police in England and Wales more powers to impose conditions on non-violent protests judged to be too noisy and thereby causing “intimidation or harassment” or “serious unease, alarm or distress” to the public.

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