Labour says it will set up a charging commission to ensure more cases go to trial

Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, has suggested that the government might withdraw from the European convention on human rights if that offers the only means of stopping asylum seekers coming to the UK on small boats.

Asked if leaving the ECHR was an option for the government, Jenrick said the government would “take whatever necessary action is needed”.

Jenrick was responding to a question prompted by a BBC report saying senior Conservatives believe the party will campaign on a manifesto proposing ECHR withdrawal. The report, by Nick Eardley, also quotes an unnamed minister claiming the UK is being “punished” by the European court of human rights, which enforces the convention, because of Brexit.

Rishi Sunak has played down the prospect of leaving the ECHR, arguing that the UK is instead in a good position to secure reforms to how the European court operates that might help it implement its Rwanda policy.

But Sunak has never ruled out leaving the convention, or the court, and one recent survey showed that 70% of Conservative party members want the UK to leave the convention. Suella Braverman, the home secretary, has in the past said she agrees with this view, although she is now she tends not to say that publicly because it is not government policy.

In an interview with Times Radio, asked if the government was ruling out withdrawal from the convention, Jenrick replied:

You can see from the prime minister, the home secretary and myself, our total commitment to this challenge.

That’s why we’re working on every possible front. That’s why we have produced the most comprehensive plan, I believe, of any European country to tackle this issue.

And we’ll do whatever is necessary ultimately to defend our borders and to bring order to our asylum system.

Asked if “whatever is necessary” might include leaving the ECHR, Jenrick replied:

We will do whatever is required, take whatever necessary action is needed.

Robert Jenrick on Sky News this morning.

Robert Jenrick has suggested he would not rule out backing a parliamentary move to punish Nadine Dorries for not attending parliament as a means of forcing a byelection.

Dorries, the former culture secretary, had infuriated many MPs, including her colleagues, by her failure to formally resign her seat despite her announcing in early June that she was going to do so “with immediate effect”.

All three main English parties are gearing up for a byelection in her Mid Bedfordshire constituency, and her non-resignation has focused attention on how little work she appears to be doing as an MP. She has only voted in the Commons six times this year, and has not spoken in the chamber since last summer.

Last week Sunak criticised Dorries, saying she was not properly representing her constituents.

Today, in an interview with Sky News, Jenrick, the immigration minister, used similar language to Sunak. But he went further in hinting that he might back a parliamentary move to oust Dorries.

Asked if it was time for Dorries to go, Jenrick replied:

Yes. I think being a member of parliament is a special privilege. You sign up for a term in office. If you decide you want to leave parliament for whatever reason, you need to get on and do that.

I don’t think that Nadine Dorries’ constituents are being properly represented.

I hope she’ll reach that conclusion soon.

Jenrick was then asked if he supported a proposal from Sir Chris Bryant, the chair of the Commons standards committee, to force Dorries out. In an interview with the Financial Times, Bryant, who is promoting his new book on conduct in parliament, said he favoured resurrecting a parliamentary rule from 1801 stating that “no member do presume to go out of town without leave of this house”. Bryant suggested that a process like this could end up with Dorries being suspended for more than 10 days, which would trigger a recall petition and then a byelection (if the 10% threshold were met).

On Monday, asked about the Bryant proposal, Downing Street declined to endorse it, and said ultimately it was for constituents to decide who should serve as an MP.

But when Jenrick was asked about the plan, he sounded more enthusiastic. Asked if he would support Bryant’s proposal, he replied:

I’m not familiar with the details of his proposal, I know he’s relying on quite an arcane piece of legislation.

Obviously the government will consider that, but it’s probably a matter for the House of Commons rather than for the government.

And so if he brings forward serious proposals, then as individual members of parliament we’ll have to consider.

Dorries, who is a loyal Boris Johnson supporter, has said that before she resigns as an MP she wants to get a proper explanation as to why she was blocked from getting a peerage in his resignation honours. She has not responded to the recent criticism of her attendance record in parliament, or her failure to quit, but yesterday she did post a message on Twitter accusing Bryant of being a publicity seeker.

Ahh, Chris Bryant has a book out – well, I never. This latest bout of publicity seeking was so unlike him… All is now clear…

Sir Chris Bryant says he has been assaulted by five MPs

Dorries, of course, is no slouch when it comes to publicity seeking herself.

Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, has suggested that the government might withdraw from the European convention on human rights if that offers the only means of stopping asylum seekers coming to the UK on small boats.

Asked if leaving the ECHR was an option for the government, Jenrick said the government would “take whatever necessary action is needed”.

Jenrick was responding to a question prompted by a BBC report saying senior Conservatives believe the party will campaign on a manifesto proposing ECHR withdrawal. The report, by Nick Eardley, also quotes an unnamed minister claiming the UK is being “punished” by the European court of human rights, which enforces the convention, because of Brexit.

Rishi Sunak has played down the prospect of leaving the ECHR, arguing that the UK is instead in a good position to secure reforms to how the European court operates that might help it implement its Rwanda policy.

But Sunak has never ruled out leaving the convention, or the court, and one recent survey showed that 70% of Conservative party members want the UK to leave the convention. Suella Braverman, the home secretary, has in the past said she agrees with this view, although she is now she tends not to say that publicly because it is not government policy.

In an interview with Times Radio, asked if the government was ruling out withdrawal from the convention, Jenrick replied:

You can see from the prime minister, the home secretary and myself, our total commitment to this challenge.

That’s why we’re working on every possible front. That’s why we have produced the most comprehensive plan, I believe, of any European country to tackle this issue.

And we’ll do whatever is necessary ultimately to defend our borders and to bring order to our asylum system.

Asked if “whatever is necessary” might include leaving the ECHR, Jenrick replied:

We will do whatever is required, take whatever necessary action is needed.

Robert Jenrick on Sky News this morning.

Good morning. In August, as “normal” political news dries up, journalists are more dependent than usual on what the political parties are offering and the government is still banging away with announcements designed to show that it is dealing with the small boats problem. Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, has been promoting a deal with Turkey intended to tackle illegal migration. The Home Office statement is here, and our story about the initiative is here.

But today Labour has got its own, rival announcement. It is about crime, and how to ensure more crimes lead to suspects being charged, and it is inspired in particular by this chart in the document Keir Starmer published earlier this year explaining his “making Britain’s streets safe” mission. It shows the detection rate for offences in England and Wales has fallen by 60% since 2015.

Detection rate for crimes in England and Wales from 2003

Labour says that, in addition to proposals it has already announced to deal with this (more neighbourhood police officers, more people working as crown prosecutors), it will set up a charging commission to ensure more cases go to trial. It says a body is needed to speed up the process because the time taken to charge suspects is getting longer (up from 14 days, on average, in 2016, to 44 days now), and because 2.4m cases were dropped due to evidential difficulties in the past year.

Another problem is the huge increase in the proportion of victims who just give up on wanting to see a case through.

Proportion of cases closed due to victims not supporting further action, from 2015

In an article for the Daily Mirror, Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, says a charging commission is needed because, for every 500 people who get burgled, only 20 cases go to court. She says:

Across England and Wales today, over 500 people will have their home broken into. Only 20 of those burglars will face court. Shockingly, less than 5% of burglaries are solved.

For violent crime the figures are worse. More than 5,000 people will face a violent attack or abuse today alone. But less than 300 of the criminals responsible will face court.

Under the Tories the proportion of crimes that are solved has dropped by two thirds. Bluntly, more criminals are getting off, more victims are being badly let down.

The Labour commission will be chaired by Dame Vera Baird, a former Labour MP and former victims’ commissioner. Explaining what it would do, she said:

Investigations and prosecutions for serious crimes like rape are in a dismal state, the criminal justice system is in chaos, and things simply cannot stay as they are.

This commission will bring together voices from across policing and prosecutions to forensically investigate the causes of this charging crisis, and set out robust recommendations for recovery.

Jenrick and Cooper have both been doing media rounds this morning. I will post the highlights shortly.

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