Ken Clarke: Regret but no apology


The justice secretary has admitted to using the "wrong choice of words" on BBC Radio 5 Live today and "the impression" they gave that he thought not all rapes are equally serious was "not his view".

However, he told the BBC in his third round of interviews today that "I haven't apologised" because he believes he's been misquoted.

The interview followed one that I did just two hours earlier in which he rejected the idea he had anything to be sorry about.

Ken Clarke was defending his plans to cut in half the sentences of criminals who plead guilty long before they get to court as a means to reduce the trauma for rape victims as well as police and court time and money.

Here's an excerpt of my second interview with Mr Clarke:

Q: Ken Clarke a couple of hours I said to you - do you apologise for the language that you had used on rape and the offence that it had caused? Are you now?

A: Well my view is that all rape is a serious crime and if I have given the impression to people that that is not my view is obviously wrong, and the wrong choice of words, every rape is a serious crime

Q: It's clear now that you regret the way that the words have been seen. If you'll forgive me - have you been told that you should apologise?

A: No, and I haven't apologised as far as I am aware, I apologise if an impression has been given which is not my view and which I don't think I stated. But my view, let's be clear, is that all rape is serious. I am not proposing any change in the sentence for rape.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Clearly there are different types of rape. A man breaking into a house and assaulting a woman violently at knife point in front of her child is more serious than a man on a date, who, after a few drinks pushes a girl who reluctantly acquiesces or feels pressured into sex. Neither are right and in both cases women need the protection of law but they are different and must treated as such.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    Please bear in mind that although rape has a 7% conviction rate, this does not mean that the other 93% are guilty and have got off on a technicality. This means that some alleged "rapists" were actually not guilty. We cannot reduce the burden of proof requirement simply because rape is an emotive crime.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    why cant politicians see that they could be repeatedly elected for a millenia if they

    1 treated rape of adults and especially children as serious as murder

    2 built prisons and gave repeat offenders harsh prison terms maybe a three strike system like the us of a

    3 and just to round off lower taxes,

    4 offer an eu referendum, if they did all this teyd be in power for a generation

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.


    That's my point exactly @66. WE know what he meant because WE follow it. We read around it and we inform ourselves. If we didn't what would we be doing on Nicks blogg? The vast majority however don't and get whipped up by headlines. My point is that the BBC (and Nick) should be there to inform and educate NOT throw fuel on the flames of nonsense and perpetuate ignorance!

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    kevin tubb @ 60

    Yes he may have been (plus I quite like Ken and I think Miliband's majoring on this 'gaffe' was ill judged) but I don't agree with you that it was crystal clear from the interview that that's what he meant. The reason I know it IS what he meant is based on what I know of Clarke and my (positive) opinion of him. For a tory, that is, I'm not utterly in love with him or anything.


Comments 5 of 70



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