02/12/2012 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston present the latest political news, interviews and debate, with justice secretary Chris Grayling.

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Sunday Politics In The West... She was raped by a convicted murderer


out on parole. Now he could be released again. Why does a life


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2132 seconds


On Sunday Politics in the West this week, we talked to a week victim


that says the Government is putting the rights of criminals above that


of victims. Helen Stockford was held at knifepoint in her home by a


man that had been convicted of murder. She wants him to get a life


sentence but her appeal has been turned down by the Government. We


talked in her later. First, our guests this morning. Charlotte


Leslie, Conservative MP for Bristol and for Labour, Roger Berry, a


former MP and local councillor. The new mayor of Bristol went to meet


the bigwigs in London. But he was not shown the red carpet. Far from


meeting the Prime Minister, he was left with ministers that few people


had ever heard of. The Government had signalled that the mayor would


have had the same status as a Cabinet Minister. Is this a sign of


things to come, Charlotte? It has been quite a busy week. I think


George had settled in and it was maybe a busy week with Lord


Leveson's report going on. But I am delighted we have got a Mayer and I


am delighted it is George and I hope we can put politics aside and


get behind him. You are a veteran of local politics. Do you think


George Ferguson has got the status of a Secretary of State or is that


a fantasy? I think that is a fantasy but time will tell. We do


not know what George can deliver and what powers he will have and


what his budget will be. We have got substantial cuts that might be


coming forward. It is early to judge. But everybody of good will,


however they voted in the election or if they did not vote, they want


the best for Bristol. We have to pull together in order to put


Bristol on the map. We can talk about the Labour Party attitude


later. It is 70 years since the foundations were laid for the


welfare system. It is undergoing its biggest ever change. Next year,


a large array of benefits will be in rolled into an all accompanying


benefit, the Universal credit. Also replaced, the Disability Living


Allowance. These changes are causing alarm among many disabled


people. They protested in Bristol and across the land but it did not


stop the Government welfare reforms passing into legislation. There is


great worry about what is ahead. have received care from social


services. I am permanently anxious that might care will be slashed.


Why are they making it harder to claim the money? It is main -- mean


and stealing from disabled people. They will find out what it means in


months. The changes start next April when the Disability Living


Allowance is replaced by a personal independence payment. From October,


are more changes. Child tax benefit, housing benefit, support allowance,


income support and working tax credit will all be replaced by the


Universal Credit, which will be phased in in four years. The prison


benefits system costs �200 billion. The aim of the new scheme is to


encourage more people into jobs. That will ultimately it is hoped


bring down the welfare Bill. This man has got epilepsy and Asperger's


syndrome. A self-employed broadcaster and a web designer, he


gets some benefits. He said most like him want to work but


politicians instead highlight the few. It makes me really angry about


what the Government says and the words they have used, such as


scroungers. They are saying everybody must work. They are not


considering people that cannot work because of disability. That


frustrates me. He knows his disability is not as obvious as


many. But benefits are supposed to overcome problems, like not being


able to drive. I must use public transport to travel around the UK.


I am having a bit of a subsidy allowing me to get to work. He does


not know what help he will get under the new system. Very few do.


But there is a concern that many that need help will be left behind


Roger, you have campaigned for disability rights for many years.


Are disabled people write to be worried they could lose benefits?


The disability allowance is one benefit mentioned. The Government


after the election plans to cut that by 20 %. We will have


substantial cuts. We have got cuts for people on employment support


allowance and incapacity benefit. And the number of people entitled


to that has been cut back. We have got a suggestion that disabled


people are bearing the brunt of the welfare benefit cuts. The numbers


claiming are now future. It has gone up by 30% in the past few


years. -- are now massive. Do not forget, in 1974, many women were


not entitled to claim that benefit. 3.2 million people are claiming


benefit. Not on incapacity benefit. We have got other disability


benefits. The entitlement has been improved over the years. Under the


Conservatives and under the Labour government, it has increased. In


civilised society, people for example that are unable to work and


require additional support for the costs of going to work, the


benefits system has been improved. Charlotte, whatever the causes of


this recession that we have been going through, the vulnerable did


not cause it. Why is the Government appearing to target them? First, I


can see that some people with disabilities are worried and afraid


and my heart goes out to them. But the Government is protecting


spending of 12.6 bn on disability. The problem is that it has not been


targeted properly and vulnerable people that need a benefit have not


been getting it. Some people that did not quite need that support


have. Much has been overpaid and 190 million has been underpaid and


many people should be getting that benefit. They did realise these are


needed sorting out in 1997 but they backtracked and in 2011, Liam Burns


said the same thing. Some people have said that families could lose


�58 per week. We must focus on the people that need it most.


Assessments must take place sensitively. It's the other issue


raised as well is helping disabled people. That is essential. We have


got all sorts of mental health implications. There are many people


in work, disabled people, that rely upon allowance to get to work.


Disability Living Allowance is not an out-of-work benefit. You cannot


say, we will cut that and it will be an incentive to work. It will do


the opposite. It's many -- many people in the Paralympics said


without that support, they would not have been able to... But we do


need to target it better. This is the undeserving poor argument.


you accept... The announcement in 2010 was to put �2 billion of


disability benefit. That is what has happened since then. We must


leave if there. A Bristol mother that was raped by a convicted


murderer has had her appeal to keep him in prison for life rejected.


Kenneth Shirley was -- he was convicted but released on parole


after just 16 years. He went on to rape two more women including Helen


Stockford. She said the Government is putting the right bits of


offenders be on victims. -- writes. He broke into Helen Stockford's


home. He held her prisoner for three and a half hours and raped


her. It was absolutely horrendous. The only thing that kept me going,


I just kept thinking, Oh my God I have got to get into that a grand


and pick my children up. She said she lives in fear. She finds it


difficult leaving the House and constantly checks the doors and


windows are locked. I feel I have lost everything and the emotional


impact has been awful. I cannot come to terms with what he has done.


It was in these flats in Cardiff when he was a teenager that he


murdered a 67-year-old woman. He was released by the Parole Board


after 16 years. He went on to break Helen and another woman in violent


attacks. -- rape. He has been given 23 like sentences but the minimum


term is 16 years and he could again be released on parole. The judge


said he will probably spend the rest of his life behind bars. Helen


thinks life should mean life and she has been supported by her MP.


Be judged as look at the circumstances and has come to a


conclusion that many people would find astonishing. We are talking


about a murderer let out on parole and he has been given a second


chance and he has not taken advantage and I think a full life


sentence is the proper response. She has been campaigning for


changes. I have been to everyone. Nobody out there has not been


contacted. I am running out of people. I would like David Cameron


to acknowledge me now and Chris Grayling. Her latest appeal was to


the Attorney General. It was rejected. He said that he did not


feel it was unduly lenient. There will be one day when I am going to


be notified by my liaison officer to say that he is coming up warm


parole. It is your time to write a -- on parole. It is your time to


write a statement but I did not think I should have to do that. I


want to put this behind me. Outside Bristol Crown Court three years ago,


Helen Stockford waved a right to anonymity to campaign for changes


to the justice system. We took our concerns to Downing Street and the


Ministry for justice. They declined the request for an interview but


the request for an interview but they said that the decision to


In Bristol this week, the white ribbon was used in campaigning to


reduce violence Against Women. Charities are concerned government


cuts will leave are the victims without help. They said this story


is in danger of being repeated the politicians do not listen. We are


seeing cuts all over the country. This woman has been terribly let


down. She should have been listened to. If he deserves that many


sentences it stands to reason that he should be given a whole life


tariff. He needs to sit down with the victim and start listening, the


Prime Minister, to help make changes. She helps other victims


now to come to terms with their ordeals. She is head in one day she


will get the changes she has been campaigning for. If -- she is


I am joined by a representative from the Bristol Law Society. And


by Helen Stockford. How much has that changed your life? Absolutely


everything. I cannot begin to say how it has changed. I think every


day, it is like a terrible experience. He has been told that


he has got 23 life sentences? altogether. He has been told he has


to served 16 years. And then he is up on parole. I but it is not


likely he will be allowed out? it is possible. You want somebody


to say you have committed 25 -- you have got 25 life sentences and that


must be like? I want a whole life term for peace of mind. Do you


think the Government has taken you seriously? Not really. You start


with the police and you go to probation, role and the Ministry of


Justice, the Attorney General. I did not think they are listening.


And the European Court might consider if these sentences are


lawful anyway. If they did that and said that you cannot give a whole


life sentence to people, would that be binding in Britain? In theory,


yes. It is the grand chamber in Strasbourg that will have to make


this decision. They rejected the argument that it was unlawful in


Westminster but it was only rejected by four down to three and


it is going to be grand chamber. This is an example where frankly


Strasbourg and Europe should not be gerrymandering with the British


legal system. Do you accept it is perhaps degrading to not have any


hope of ever being released? Well, when you look at this man and his


past history, I think it is fair to say that he needs a whole life


after. But if we look at some offenders, -- life sentence. But if


we look at others, it is difficult to look around the issues because


of so many different categories of rape. I think with my story and my


experience, I think this is where the justice system is passing me by.


18 not think it is strong enough to make changes. -- they do not think.


Helen has tried to see the Prime Minister and he is busy, or his day


but you would like five minutes. That is all I ask all. Why is she


being fobbed off? I think the whole system, the judiciary, agencies and


the Government is being hamstrung by a system which in many ways, for


good reasons, it cannot fully control. It is hamstrung by a


system that all the focus as far as I can tell, is on the attacker, the


perpetrator and not on the victim. There are people that can say that


they have ticked their boxes and dump it jobs but she has not


actually had support -- Dharma their jobs but she has not actually


had support. -- accomplished their jobs. Should David Cameron meet


Helen? A I know that she needs more to be done. We got a meeting with


the Justice Minister and Attorney General. They are being hamstrung


by the system. The letter from the Attorney General said that they


cannot meet the appeal because it and the system, I did not think we


will get anywhere with it. That I think is out of touch and wrong.


You go to court and you hear the judge say that he will get a life


sentence which he does not mean because it will not be and you must


serve a minimum of 20 years. What does that mean? The difficulty is


that unless the judge has said that he will have a whole light sentence


that does not mean a light sentence, what it means is that, he gives a


determinate sentence and that means after heart of the determinate


sentence, suppose 20 years, the person would be only eligible to


apply for parole. It then goes before the board, normally presided


at on by a judge and a psychiatrist... Is it clear that


when the judge said that you must serve 20 years, he does not mean


that? He is hamstrung unfortunately by the system. He does mean it. But


it means the person concerned is eligible for parole. It does not


mean they will get it but that he is eligible to what might. Are we


being calmed? -- eligible to what life. -- are we being hoodwinked?


Many people think a life sentence does mean life. I do think that if


a judge says you must do 10 years that people think it will be 10 but


you are saying it is alive. When he -- saying it is five. When you say


it is 20 years, he can apply after 10. What I would like to say is


that it is the Parole Board themselves, I think the system is


wrong. This is an example for you. Prior to my attack, he came up on


parole in 2007 and basically he got somebody to go on to that bought


and that policeman told to the Brit lies which helped his release. --


to that Parole Board and old lies which helped his release. -- told


lies. He basically them was told that the matter cannot be taken up


further because the Parole Board is not under oath. Definite changes


are needed. We must stop there. Thank you for coming in. It is time


for the 62nd round up. -- 60 seconds or stop --. The leader on


the council in Bristol was forced to resign. The party is completely


divided on whether to work with the new city Mayer. Councillors from


all parties had agreed to join the Cabinet but Labour Party members


were overruled by head office. Two West councils have promised to


spend �50,000 each to help flooding victims. Money will go to people


that have at homes flooded in rain. We are going to houses that have


become flooded or almost but it. We are getting back information. That


will dig into the system and that will help us decide where to put


defences in future. Lord Justice Leveson talk about the injustice of


people affected by the press. Christopher Jefferies, the


schoolteacher from Bristol said that his name had been tarnished


We can pick up on one of these stories and that is the Labour


Party decision not to work with the Cabinet in Bristol with the


Independent Meyer George Ferguson after her as saying that they would.


What is going on? -- First saying. We need to work in the best


interests of Bristol as councils always do. If I had been asked to


serve in his Cabinet I would want to know the direction in which he


is going and we do not yet at any policies or inkling of the


budgetary position. You are asking him to take it a lot not knowing


the facts. A wish politicians would -- by which politicians would grow


up. We should stand up and say that I will work with George Ferguson. I


was part of a delegation to get some changes on the public


transport system. I could have let MPs out but I did not because you


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