'The Criminal Justice System Has Completely Collapsed,' Labour Party Says

Emily Thornberry backed Keir Starmer over the party's controversial attack advert.
Emily Thornberry
Emily Thornberry
Sky News

Emily Thornberry said the country’s criminal justice system has “completely collapsed” as Labour ramps up its attacks on the Tories.

The shadow attorney general defended Labour’s controversial attack adverts, including one that accused Rishi Sunak of not wanting child sex abusers to go to prison.

Keir Starmer has also doubled-down on the advert, saying that he stands by “every word” and makes “zero apologies” for being blunt.

Asked if she stood by the adverts, Thornberry told Sky News: “Of course we do. Why would we not?

“The criminal justice system has completely collapsed and it’s happened over the 13 years that the Conservatives have been in power.

“Rishi Sunak is in charge of the government and should do something about it and isn’t.”

Pressed on the sex offender advert which has sparked a fierce backlash, Thornberry said: “If it’s such a priority for [Sunak], why doesn’t he do something about it?

“Which means why doesn’t he make sure that the attorney general puts - there’s something called an unduly lenient sentences regime - where if someone has been given a sentence which people feel is too low, it can be referred to the attorney general and then she makes a decision about sending it to the Court of Appeal so they can have another look at it.

“Frankly, under Suella Braverman for the two years that she was attorney general, hardly anyone was sent who was a child sex abuser or child pornographer were sent to the Court of Appeal to have their sentence looked at again. It is disgraceful.”

Starmer has said he stands by “every word” in the attack campaign that has provoked anger within his own party.

Writing in the Daily Mail, the opposition leader said he was unrepentant about the tone of the attacks as he vowed to “make Labour the party of law and order once again”.

“Our soft on crime government is only part of the problem,” Starmer said.

“I make absolutely zero apologies for being blunt about this. I stand by every word Labour has said on the subject, no matter how squeamish it might make some feel.

“When 4,500 child abusers avoid prison, people don’t want more excuses from politicians: they want answers.”

HuffPost UK revealed on Friday that Labour was planning to step up its personal attacks on Sunak despite the widespread condemnation of the tweet about child sexual assault.

Labour has held talks with political allies in America and Australia over how to take the fight to the Conservatives in the run-up to the next election.

One senior figure said: “Their entire 13 year record is up for grabs next year - from the horrors of the NHS to the failures on crime.”


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