Saturday 21 May 2011

The Justice Secretary should bow out

I have been concerned about Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke ever since the election.  His unwise comments of last week are not the only issue, they are an indicator of a much bigger problem - which is that his whole stance on criminal justice seems to challenge a fundamental belief of most Conservatives.

Some crimes justify nothing else other than long sentences.  Repeated crime justifies nothing other than long jail sentences.  That is my view and, I suspect, that of most of my Conservative colleagues.  Punishment should be hard, but so should rehabilitation.  A Justice Secretary that fundamentally undermines this core principle, doesn't just do us damage as a Government, he undermines the values of the party.  If the Conservative Party loses its reputation as THE party of law and order, it will take a long sustained effort to wrestle it back.

I have massive respect for what Ken Clarke achieved as Chancellor, but I am increasingly of the view that in the interests of the Conservative Party he needs to stand down.

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