Page last updated at 14:41 GMT, Wednesday, 2 June 2010 15:41 UK

Cameron faces first Commons question session as PM

Government plans to allow people accused of rape in England and Wales to remain anonymous risk signalling to juries "that rape victims are not to be believed", acting opposition leader Harriet Harman has claimed.

On 2 June 2010, at David Cameron's first Commons question session as prime minister, Ms Harman said that the PM showed "no understanding" of the issue, warning that the proposals could "turn the clock back" on progress made in bringing rapists to justice.

The move could be counter-productive, she argued, because victims of serial rapists were encouraged to come forward when the names of their attackers were announced in the media.

"To single out rape defendants sends a very powerful message to juries in rape cases: that the rape victim is not to be believed," she said.

Mr Cameron replied: "The home affairs committee looked at this very carefully and came to the conclusion that in this case there was a case for extending anonymity, because, in rape cases, those that have been raped have anonymity themselves."

He told MPs that "between arrest and charge there was a case for anonymity", adding that there would be full parliamentary scrutiny of any proposals brought forward.

"We all want the same thing, which is to increase the number of successful rape prosecutions and send more rapists to jail," he concluded.

Mr Cameron also faced questions from Ms Harman on the naval blockade of Gaza, telling MPs that Israel's recent decision to intercept a flotilla aiming to carry aid to Gaza was "completely unacceptable".

He added: "Friends of Israel - and I count myself a friend of Israel - should be saying to the Israelis that the blockade actually strengthens Hamas's grip on the economy and on Gaza, and it's in their own interests to lift it and allow these vital supplies to get through."

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