Boris Johnson tells Beth Rigby she’s trying to ‘blame government’

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Boris Johnson has clashed with Sky News host Beth Rigby during a grilling over the state of the justice system at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. Ms Rigby challenged the Conservative Government’s record on funding for the Crown Prosecution Service and highlighted cuts implemented by the Justice Department. Mr Johnson fired back that the Sky News host was unfairly attempting to pin blame on the Government.  

Ms Rigby told the Prime Minister: “I would like you to acknowledge the CPS and the Justice Department have faced cuts, and it is not just about the CPS and the police it is also on the Government.

“I understand that you want to blame the Government for not spending enough money,” replied Mr Johnson.

“I said acknowledge your part in it…” argued Ms Rigby.

“So what we are doing is…and I certainly accept my responsibility in all of this, but what we are doing is putting more prosecutors into the CPS.”

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It comes as the Prime Minister has appeared to rule out making misogyny a hate crime.

Mr Johnson said on Tuesday that he believes existing laws should be enforced rather than new legislation brought in.

He said tackling domestic violence and rape is his “number one issue” in policing and the way that way police and the criminal justice system handle crimes of violence against women currently was “just not working”.

He added the “anger over Sarah Everard’s murder is a symptom” of a “wider frustration that people feel”.

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Asked if he believed misogyny should be a hate crime, Mr Johnson told BBC Breakfast: “I think that what we should do is prosecute people for the crimes we have on the statute book.

“That is what I am focused on.

“To be perfectly honest, if you widen the scope of what you ask the police to do, you will just increase the problem.

“What you need to do is get the police to focus on the very real crimes, the very real feeling of injustice and betrayal that many people feel.”

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MPs have been lobbying to make misogyny a hate crime over the past few months.

The chairman of the Commons Justice Committee, the Tory MP, Sir Bob Neill, said last week that the Government should consider making misogyny a hate crime in the same way that racism was following the Macpherson Inquiry into the killing of Stephen Lawrence.

In July, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse told the House of Commons that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill should “enshrine misogyny as a hate crime” during a debate on the prospective legislation.

The Bill, which contains a wide-ranging raft of measures aimed at overhauling the criminal justice system, is currently making its way through the House of Lords.

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