THE GOVERNMENT has answered calls from Shipley MP Philip Davies to extend the types of crime where a sentence handed down by the courts can be deemed not tough enough.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed it will add a further 14 offences to the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme, including stalking, harassment, child sexual abuse and other sex offences.

The scheme was introduced in 1988 and allowed people to challenge unduly lenient sentences and, until recently, only applied to the most serious offences including murder, robbery and a range of terrorist offences.

Conservative MP Mr Davies said: “I am delighted Government has listened and is extending this scheme, which I have been campaigning for.

“We made some progress in the past couple of years when a few other crimes were added but there is always more that can be done and I am extremely pleased that more victims of crime will have the chance to challenge any unduly lenient sentence.”

In the last Justice Questions in Parliament before the summer recess, Mr Davies again spoke out demanding the Solicitor General “get on with it” and extend the scheme instead of “tinkering around it”.

Last year 99 sentences were challenged. Currently a sentence can be challenged within 28 days if it is included in the scheme.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said: “Philip has taken a deep interest in the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme for some years and has campaigned tirelessly for the scheme to be extended. We discussed the scheme many times in my role as Solicitor General and I am delighted as Justice Secretary I can now deliver on this and thank him for his active support for my new initiative.

“Sentences are decided by our independent judiciary based on the facts before them, but it is absolutely right that victims have a voice in the system when punishments don’t appear to fit the crime.”

Mr Davies described the Conservatives as “the party of law and order” and is now speaking with ministers to try and extend the amount of time within which a sentence can be challenged.

The Telegraph & Argus asked the MP to respond to concerns over the Conservative’s police cuts, totalling 21,732 officers between March 2010 and March 2018.

He said: “I have always opposed cuts to the police budgets and voted accordingly, but these cuts were made solely due to the fact that the last Labour government left us with our biggest peacetime budget deficit in our history.

“Now we have got the finances back on track money for our public services such as the police is being increased substantially.

“We have lost respect for authority as a society and that has not been positive on the whole.

“Yes we need more police officers but we also need tougher sentences and not to release prisoners automatically halfway through their sentence as Labour introduced - something no Conservative government would ever have introduced.

“Hence why we are the party of law and order and Labour never will be - especially when they are led by people who have campaigned against the police all of their political lives.”