Justice Secretary Dominic Raab suggested he was challenged over the government’s approach to tackling harassment and violence against women, as they could be “a woman against a man”.
Boris Johnson has denied treating misogyny as a hate crime – arguing it would overload the justice system and make the fight against rape and domestic violence harder.
The prime minister said he wanted the justice system to “implement existing laws” rather than introduce a new one.
When asked whether the government was taking misogyny seriously, Raab told the BBC Breakfast: “So I think that humiliation and of course misogyny is absolutely wrong – whether it is a man against a woman, or a woman against a man.”
Presenter Sally Nugent challenged Mr Raab’s comment: “You said that misogyny is absolutely wrong whether the man is against a woman or a woman is against a man – is that what you meant to say?”
Mr Raab replied: “What I meant was that if we’re talking about things that are below the level of public order, then harassment, threats, which are true crimes – if we’re talking, effectively ‘Insults with a sexist premise – I don’t’ I don’t think criminalizing things like this will solve the problem we’ve got at the center of the Sarah Everard case.”
The Justice Secretary also argued that “there was no point in trying to address what is an enforcement problem”.
He continued: “Criminalizing abusive language – even if it is wrong – does not deal with the threats, violence and high levels of crime and damage and harm that we should really be laser-focused on.”
Among many people mocking Mr Raab online, former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal tweeted: “If you don’t know what misogyny is, you’ll never find it.”
Mr Raab also dismissed criticism over the Sarah Everard investigation after lawmakers, campaigners and legal groups expressed concerns that it is not at a statutory level – meaning it would rely on voluntary cooperation from the Metropolitan Police and witnesses. He cannot be compelled to give evidence.
The Justice Secretary claimed that witnesses would cooperate with the investigation of “systematic failures” that allowed the appointment of Sarah Everard’s killer as a police officer.
Mr Raab told Sky News that “we are not going to have any problem getting to the truth” and said he is confident police officers will cooperate with the review of the actions of killer Wayne Couzens.
Asked by the LBC whether the investigation would get to the bottom of the case without the power to coerce witnesses, he said: “I don’t think that’s the case – we have inquired. [without statutory powers] which has come true. “
Arguing that the public wanted “rapid action”, the minister said: “A statutory inquiry would be too long and drawn out”.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /