BORIS Johnson has said he is 'shocked and deeply saddened' by developments in the investigation into the disappearance of York woman Sarah Everard.

The Prime Minister said: "Like the whole country, my thoughts are with her family and friends. We must work fast to find all the answers to this horrifying crime.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said “the scale of violence, intimidation and misogyny that women and girls suffer on a daily basis” must be recognised.

At the beginning of his local election campaign launch,he said: “I want to start by expressing my deepest sympathies to Sarah Everard’s family and friends, who will be experiencing unspeakable grief this morning.

“This awful news has shaken us all. I’d like to say these incidents are rare, but the truth is that violence against women and girls is far too common. No woman should walk home with fear or threat."

Their comments came as police continued to question a serving Metropolitan Police officer who has been arrested on suspicion of murdering the former Fulford School pupil, who disappeared in London just over a week ago.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said that “every woman should feel safe to walk our streets without fear of harassment or violence.”

She said: “I am deeply saddened by the developments in the Sarah Everard investigation. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Sarah, her family and friends at this unbearable time.

“Many women have shared their stories and concerns online since Sarah’s disappearance last week. These are so powerful because each and every woman can relate. Every woman should feel safe to walk on our streets without fear of harassment or violence.

“At this deeply sad and tragic time as we think and pray for Sarah and her family, I will continue through my role to do all I can to protect women and girls from violence and harassment.”

Labour MP Zarah Sultana said: “Like women across the country, I have not been able to stop thinking about Sarah Everard – my thoughts are with those who knew and loved her.

“All women know the fear of walking home at night: we hold keys tightly between our fingers, we quicken our pace and we pretend to make phone calls – it is almost second nature.

“But women should be able to walk home without fear, so I press the Leader of the House that we as parliamentarians make it clear that the emphasis must be tackling violence against women and girls and the norms that too often sustain it, rather than victim-blaming narratives that say women shouldn’t be on the street at night.”

The Commons Leader,Jacob Rees-Mogg, said: “I entirely, entirely agree,” adding: “Everybody in this country should feel free to walk the streets at night safely and securely and women should be as free to do that as men – and the best way to do this is by tackling crime and making our streets safer and getting the extra 20,000 police on the street.

“There is nothing more reassuring than seeing a police officer in uniform when walking the streets, and that is a comfort that we hope to be able to continue to take more of in this country as more police join the various forces up and down the country.”

Downing Street said the Government was working with “law enforcement agencies, charities, women’s group” to develop a strategy to ensure women’s safety.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “(The Prime Minister) said he was shocked and deeply saddened by the developments in the Sarah Everard investigation.

“It’s obviously right that it’s a matter that the police continue to investigate. We are working closely with law enforcement agencies, charities, women’s group, to develop a new violence against women and girls strategy, which will be published later this year.”

Asked what practical steps the Government is taking now, the spokesman referred to the violence against women and girls strategy.

“That will help us better target perpetrators and support victims of these crimes and increase our ability to tackle new and emerging forms of violence against women and girls, such as upskirting and revenge porn,” he added.

“The Prime Minister said previously it remains his intent to ensure that we work to reduce crime across the country.”