Date rape not as bad as stranger rape says MP

Conservative MP in trouble over comments on rape

A Conservative MP found himself in hot water today after saying the government was wrong to regard ‘date rape’ as seriously as rapes by strangers.

The former Tory cabinet minister John Redwood was condemned by victim support groups for saying on his blog: ‘Young men do not want to have to take a consent form and a lawyer on a date.’

The comments angered campaigners who had welcomed a speech by the Conservative leader David Cameron last month, when he condemned the ‘moral collapse’ demonstrated by studies showing that one in two men believe there are some circumstances where a man could be allowed to force a woman to have sex.

Cameron highlighted the fact that three-quarters of raped women never report the crime, and of those reported, only 5.7% end in a conviction.

By contrast, Redwood wrote: ‘(The government) decided to set date rape alongside stranger rape. Again, none of us want men to rape women, but there is a difference between a man using unreasonable force to assault a woman on the street, and a disagreement between two lovers over whether there was consent on one particular occasion when the two were spending an evening or night together.’

A spokeswoman for Rape Crisis said it was ‘outraged’ at the ‘uninformed statements’, and Amnesty said: ‘There’s very little difference between rape by a partner and rape by a stranger – both amount to sexual violence and both can leave a woman deeply traumatised.’

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