THE MP for Andover has said that budget cuts are not the reason behind low rape conviction rates.

Kit Malthouse, policing minister, said that the reasons behind the fall are "more complex than just budget cuts".

The latest CPS figures for 2019-20 show 1,439 suspects were convicted of rape or lesser offences in England and Wales last year – the lowest level since records began, and down from 1,925 the previous year, despite reports of adult rape to police almost doubling since 2015-16.

Justice secretary Robert Buckland had acknowledged that cuts were behind the fall.

But speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Malthouse said the reasons behind the fall in rape prosecutions were “more complex” than cuts to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Asked if he accepted that budget cuts to the CPS were part of the problem, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “No, I don’t.

"In truth, the biggest drop we saw in cases coming to court arose from 2016, and obviously that was part way through a period of financial hardship in the country, when we were trying to cut our cloth accordingly.

“So the reasons for that fall are more complex I think necessarily than just budget cuts.

“But look, has the CPS been under strain generally? Yes. Has the whole public service been under strain? Of course it is.”

Whitehall has promised to undertake a “system and culture change” which will include focusing more on the behaviour of the suspect than the accuser.