The Labour Government is to announce plans to release prisoners in coming days to ease overcrowding in cells, Sir Keir Starmer has said, but the most dangerous criminals will be kept inside.

The Prime Minister made clear on a trip to Washington DC for a Nato summit that releasing prisoners to ease pressure on jails was a priority.

There has been speculation that the Government will release prisoners who have served as little as 40 per cent of their jail term, rather than the 50 per cent norm.

Speaking to reporters from GB News and other news outlets en route to the USA for his first overseas summit of his time in office, Starmer said his Government would “make a statement in relation to this in the coming days”.

Sir Keir Starmer addresses journalists en route to the USSir Keir Starmer to unveil early release plan for prisoners ‘in coming days’ PA

He said that prisoners who were being considered for release would be assessed against a series of “risk categories” to weigh up whether they posed a threat to the public on release.

Starmer said: “We’re going to have to set out the state of affairs; what we intend to do about it, but it will include this question for risk categories.

“I did press Rishi Sunak hard I think in relation to someone being released from Lewes prison, if I remember, because there was a threat, considered a risk to children.

“So we will set that all out when we make a statement in coming days. But you know from my question to Sunak, when he was Prime Minister, where I stand on this.”

Starmer has been criticised for appointing a Prisons Minister who has said in the past that as few as a third of prisoners should definitely be in prison.