Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Justice questions

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Justice Secretary Jack Straw has announced plans to increase the minimum sentence for knife murderers from 15 years to 25 years.

During his departmental question session on 10 November, he told MPs that he had carried out a review following "considerable concern" about the 15-year starting point for judges considering the minimum tariff in knife murders.

"I propose to introduce a new adult starting point of 25 years for murder using a knife or other weapon carried to the scene with the intention of use as a weapon," he said.

Mr Straw told MPs that both Houses of Parliament will have the chance to debate the proposed change.

"A statutory instrument introducing this change will be laid before Parliament by Christmas and will be subject to debate in both Houses soon after," he said.

Later, shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve complained, in a point of order, about the justice secretary making the statement during question time, arguing that opposition MPs had not had a chance to scrutinise the plans properly.

But Mr Straw replied that he wished to show respect to the House by making the announcement to MPs first.

Speaker John Bercow said he would "reflect" on the point raised by Mr Grieve.

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