PRISONERS should not be let out early nor should overcrowding be used as an excuse not to send people to jail, an MP has warned.

The criminal justice system is already a mockery with repeat offenders walking free and the Government must be tougher on crime, Shipley MP Philip Davies said.

Speaking in an urgent Commons statement on overcrowding in prisons, he warned the Conservatives not to be lenient on crime as the past Labour government was.

Mr Davies said: "I don't lie awake at night worrying about prisoners being in overcrowded conditions; if they don't want to be in overcrowded conditions they should not have committed the crimes that get them sent to prison.

“Will the Secretary of State do more to encourage the Chancellor to find more money for prison building?

“When it comes to tackling any prison overcrowding issue, will he pledge not to do what the last Labour Government did in letting out prisoners before the end of their sentence?”

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling denied there was an overcrowding crisis but admitted some prisons were experiencing staff shortages.

Mr Grayling added: “Today's prison population is 85,359. This is against total usable operational capacity of 86,421, which means we have more than 1,000 spare places across the prison estate.”