Justice Secretary Robert Buckland's plan to introduce a mandatory life tariff for child murderers has been criticised.

The Conservative MP hopeful announced the plans this morning. He said the Tories would bring in new laws requiring judges to sentence those aged over 21 convicted of murdering a child to life imprisonment. They would not be eligible for parole.

Mr Buckland said he would also bring in a package of measures aimed at cutting re-offending by doubling the numbers of former prisoners in employment within six weeks of their release.

READ MORE: Robert Buckland announces 'life means life' policy for child murderers

Sarah Church, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for South Swindon, asked why the policy hadn’t been brought in by Conservative politicians since 2010.

"Everything needs to be done to prevent such horrific cases," she said.

"Sadly all too often - over half the time - children are killed by their parents. So we also need to ensure that there are proper support services for example on domestic violence so people can report abusive domestic situations. Sadly, these have been hollowed out during a decade of Tory cuts.”

She added of rehabilitation policy plans: "Prisoners cannot be rehabilitated if they are stuck in their cells for 23 hours a day as they are under the Tories because of understaffing. The Tories have cut thousands of prisons officers. A Labour government will restore prison officer numbers to 2010 levels."

On Twitter, the influential Secret Barrister account tweeted: "How on earth can this policy - which will affect a handful of offenders, if any - be a priority for Justice Secretary @RobertBuckland when our courts are so underfunded that victims of serious physical and sexual violence are waiting years for their trials?"

The account later tweeted of the plans: "It is a distraction."