POINT OF ORDER – SENTENCING POLICY FOR RAPE – 4 July 2002
Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The whole House was very concerned about the inadequate sentence in the rape case that my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Turner) raised in questioning the Solicitor-General. In her reply, the Solicitor-General [Harriet Harman] explained that there were two possible courses of action: to extend the period of time in which application could be made to review the inadequate sentence, or to publicise the existing period of time. I do not know whether you noticed, Mr Speaker, but in her answer the right hon. Lady said that she inclined towards the former. However, she then went on to explain at length why she was recommending the latter. That was extremely confusing to the House on a matter of considerable concern, and I wonder whether the record can be clarified in any way.
[Mr Speaker: It could well have been a slip of the tongue by the Solicitor-General. I think that that was the case.]