PM called to apologise for concluding rape debate with 'disgraceful' rhyming phrases

23 June 2021, 15:05 | Updated: 23 June 2021, 15:31

By Fiona Jones

Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding Jess Phillips has called for Boris Johnson to apologise after concluding a debate about rape during PMQs with "disgraceful" rhyming phrases.

Figures show that between March 2019 and March 2020, 58,856 cases of rape were recorded by police forces in England and Wales - however, only 2,102 led to prosecutions.

While cases of rape reported to the police has risen sharply over five years, the cases that make it to court have more than halved.

In today's PMQs, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer took to his feet to question why rape convictions have "plummeted" under Boris Johnson's watch.

The PM initially responded: "We are fixing that by investing another £1 billion in clearing the court backlogs, in ensuring that they have people they can listen to and trust who will help them through the trials of the criminal justice experience, but above all we're helping them by getting our courts moving again."

However as the two party leaders continued their clash over the issue, Boris Johnson concluded the debate by making a trio of rhyming phrases, which shadow minister Jess Phillips branded "disgraceful."

The PM said: "They jabber, we jab...they dither, we deliver, they vacillate and we vaccinate."

Jess Phillips tweeted in response: "For the PM to describe questions about rape convictions as ‘jabber’ is disgraceful. But this is the man who once said investigating child sexual abuse was ‘spaffing money up the wall’ - he doesn’t care about tackling sexual violence.

"He should apologise for his comments & his government’s appalling record.

"There is nothing in the new Bill will do anything to increase rape convictions. Nothing the new government bill will increase conviction of rape it will merely keep some rapists already convicted in prison a bit longer."

She then took to the Commons and asked the Speaker if she could seek an apology from the Prime Minister.