Sunday shows: Labour demands action on violence against women and girls

The Andrew Marr Show

Jess Phillips, Labour’s shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, said the police “got it wrong” at Clapham Common on Saturday but did not call for Cressida Dick to resign. She explained Labour’s calls for longer minimum sentences for stalking and rape and for misogyny to be a hate crime.

  • On whether the situation has improved since she started reading out the names of women killed by men every year: “I wish that it had, but actually it’s got worse… It is this year at an all-time high.”
  • On whether the police ’got it right’ at Clapham Common on Saturday: “No, I think the police got it wrong at every single turn. Not just the final image that we see, but all day yesterday and the day before the police did not try to find a way for a peaceful protest.”
  • On whether Cressida Dick should resign: “Ed Davey maybe wants a headline that I don’t want. I came here this morning to talk about violence against women and girls… I don’t think the police over the past few years have done enough to increase charging over domestic abuse, have done enough to increase charging in rape – both are reducing. This is not the day for me to say whether she should go.”
  • On Covid legislation: “Within the legislation that has been nodded through, there was room for yesterday a peaceful vigil to take place.”
  • On the upbringing of boys: “I’m not going to sit here and give mothers another reason to be bashed that they’re not bringing up their boys properly. But I think we’ve got a responsibility to look at the way we educate, the way all of society operates… It’s not all men, but it is all women.”
  • She added that the government should ensure sex and relationship education is “robust”.
  • On Labour’s call for longer sentences for stalkers and rapists: “You should get more for rape than you do for defacing a statue… You can currently get more for fly-tipping than you can get for stalking.”
  • She added that Labour wants to see sentences doubled for stalking and the minimum sentence for rape extended from five years to seven years “at least”.
  • On Labour’s call for misogyny to be a hate crime, despite Dick and others saying it is not a priority for the public: “Where I live, the public is genuinely more interested in bins than they are in domestic abuse.”
  • She added: “The reason misogyny should be a hate crime is that there was a man who stood for election in this country and one of the things he said on political platforms is whether he would or wouldn’t rape me.”
  • On the pay rise Labour wants for NHS workers: “At a minimum, it has to be 2.1%… There are many different unions involved in this, and they’re all asking for something different.” She added: “If it was down to me, I think nurses are worth the moon.”
  • On rewarding frontline workers: “By and large, the work done during the pandemic was done by women. I haven’t seen any policy come out of the government about the recovery that specifically targets the work of women. Nothing about childcare, which has been an absolute nightmare.”

Government minister Victoria Atkins said she found the police approach to Clapham Common yesterday “very upsetting” although “the overwhelming majority of people who did go there had a peaceful experience”.

Asked whether the leadership of the Metropolitan Police is in question now, the safeguarding minister replied that “we ought to take this a step at a time”, neither calling for Dick’s resignation nor defending the Commissioner.

She highlighted that Home Secretary Priti Patel had asked for a report on the events of Saturday evening, and said: “There is good work going on in policing but we must look at what happened last night.”

Sophy Ridge on Sunday

Jess Phillips demanded that the government take action on violence against women and girls, and criticised the police handling of a vigil for Sarah Everard on Saturday evening.

  • Asked whether Priti Patel reopening a survey on violence against women and girls is “enough”: “We know what the problems are. The Home Secretary has known for many years… We don’t need a survey, we can take action.”
  • On police conduct: “The mistake, if we’re talking about the vigil specifically or that the police generally need to be doing more in cases of violence against women and girls, I’m afraid to say that both are true.”
  • On the vigil: “There were, oh gosh, so many missed opportunities throughout the day for the police to work with organisers to create a completely safe vigil so that people could have a moment of sorrow and a moment of resistance.”
  • On the police’s actions: “There are brilliant police officers working… across the country who spend all their time trying to make it so that women feel confident to come forward, and yesterday the police undermined that.”
  • Asked whether Cressida Dick should go: “If Cressida Dick stays or go doesn’t make women in this country more safe, and that’s what I want to talk about. We need to come together to take action.”
  • On action from the government: “The minister should be able to lay out to us exactly what they’re going to do. The Labour Party has come up with endless suggestions throughout the domestic abuse bill. 37 amendments we put down.”
  • On upcoming legislation: “On Monday, we will again be asking the government to look at things like misogyny as a hate crime, street harassment as a crime and increasing the tariffs on rape.”
  • On domestic violence funding: “The £90m allocated in the Budget was largely to go into perpetrators services, which is absolutely something that we should be looking at. Only £4m of it was for directly for victims.”
  • On government policy: “We’ve got to get this right in education, we’ve got to get this right in health, we’ve got to get this right in welfare, we’ve got to get this right in housing and we’ve got to get this right in criminal justice.”
  • She added: “Because in every single metric we are failing. And in every metric women are getting less safe year-on-year if you look at the data for convictions and if you look at the number of women coming forward.”
  • Asked whether there can now be real change: “I really hope so. As somebody who has been ploughing this furrow for my entire career, not just my entire political career, I really really really hope that this is the turning point.”
  • On the Me Too movement: “Not a single piece of legislation has changed in the United Kingdom that would protect people from being sexually harassed at work that didn’t already exist. Every recommendation that has been made to the government on women’s safety in the workplace since the Me Too movement, which we all thought was a moment, has been rejected by the government out of hand.”
  • On taking action now: “They have an enormous majority in the Commons… I don’t want platitudes; I don’t want nice words; I don’t want clapping; I don’t even want candles. I want action.”

Hackney North and Stoke Newington Labour MP Diane Abbott said Cressida Dick has “questions to answer” over police conduct on Saturday. The former Shadow Home Secretary called for the media to take violence against women and girls seriously.

  • Asked whether Cressida Dick should go: “We would hope that if she goes that she’s actually replaced with somebody better. Someone that doesn’t deny institutional racism exists in the police force and someone with a much less heavy-handed approach.”
  • On Saturday’s events: “It was Cressida Dick and people at Scotland Yard who insisted on banning it altogether when everybody knew people would turn up anyway. So, she does have questions to answer.”
  • On whether harassment towards women has worsened: “In some ways it’s got worse because what you’ve got is the online world, which feeds hostility and violence against women.”
  • On whether politicians can change things, especially given the Me Too movement involving abuse in Westminster: “When you want to see substantive change in society, the political process is part of that.”
  • On the media and violence against women: “In the past, it hasn’t necessarily been seen as news by the media. We need a change in culture. We need the media to take these things seriously, not when there’s one dramatic case.”

Home Office minister Victoria Atkins also appeared on the show this morning. She described the scenes at the vigil in Clapham on Saturday evening as “very upsetting” and said that she takes it “very seriously”.

The parliamentary under-secretary of state for safeguarding told viewers that an “end-to-end” review of the criminal justice system is taking place and that changes are being made to the sentencing of serious and violent offenders.

Asked whether Cressida Dick should go, Atkins said: “I really, really want to support the Home Secretary in her request to have a report from Cressida. The police have got a tough job in policing the coronavirus pandemic at the moment.”

Everything Labour.
Every weekday morning.

By clicking ‘subscribe’ you confirm you have read and agree to our privacy policy

More from LabourList