§ 22. Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Solicitor-General what assessment she has made of the effects of the new test of reasonableness introduced into the law of consent on the number of convictions of those guilty of rape. 
§ The Solicitor-General
The Government introduced the Sexual Offences Act 2003, as one of a number of steps to improve the conviction rate for rape. Under the new Act, the test will be whether a person has a reasonable belief that the victim consented taking into account all the circumstances, including any steps he took to ascertain whether the victim consented. The Government believe that this will have an impact on rape trials because the defendant must be certain that there is consent to the sexual activity at the time in question.
We expect the Act will to come into force in May.