Theresa May has deserted women in hunt for cuts, says Alan Johnson

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has relegated the fight against the ill-treatment of women under Treasury pressure to find big cuts in her £10bn-a-year budget, her predecessor in the role claims today.

In a strong attack, the shadow Home Secretary Alan Johnson said the Government was developing a "pattern of behaviour" that is anti-women. In an interview with The Independent, Mr Johnson accused the Coalition of:

* Opting out of a European Union directive on human trafficking designed to clamp down on "sex slaves";

* Shelving plans for domestic violence protection orders to force violent men to leave the family home;

* A proposal, since watered down, to allow people accused of rape to remain anonymous.

Mr Johnson said: "I don't doubt that Theresa May meant it when she said that she wanted to end violence against women and girls. But now she is going cold on it. The Government's actions show that it is not giving the same priority to it as the last government did. It should be accelerating it, not slowing it."

The former home secretary accused his successor of not fighting the Whitehall battle as aggressively as Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, and Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, as the Treasury seeks to impose cuts of up to 40 per cent in departmental budgets in the government-wide spending review to be unveiled on 20 October.

"It is poor judgment by Theresa May. She is losing arguments in Whitehall. She is the Home Secretary and she should carry a lot of clout," said Mr Johnson. "It demonstrates a lack of concern for victims of domestic violence and trafficking."

Mr Johnson accused the Government of pulling out of the directive to appease Eurosceptic Tory MPs. "I suspect the only word it didn't like in the directive is 'Europe'."

The directive would allow traffickers to be prosecuted for offences in other member states.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The Home Secretary has made clear she considers tackling violence against women a priority. This Government is committed to protecting victims of domestic violence and that is why we have continued to provide £3.5m funding for Independent Domestic Violence Advisers and Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences."

Whitehall sources said no final decision had been taken on whether to go ahead with pilot schemes for violent men to be banned from their homes for up two weeks, to give victims the chance to seek help. The previous government's plan is being reviewed as part of the search for cuts.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Media Sales - OTE up to £30,000

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Developer

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique & exciting opp...

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935