James Forsyth

Bluntly speaking

Bluntly speaking
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Crispin Blunt has been unceremoniously slapped down by No 10 for saying that the ban on parties in prisons will be lifted. The Coalition is following a liberal line on criminal justice but it has no desire to pick a fight on the question of whether prisoners should be allowed to party in jail.

A look at The Sun and The Mail this morning show why Downing Street dumped on Blunt so fast. The Mail followed up yesterday’s critical coverage of the Coalition with a devastating front-page assault on Blunt and his arguments. The Sun, which has been extremely supportive of the Coalition, also went for Blunt. Its leader denounced the ‘public-school educated Justice Minister, who lists bridge, wine and food among his hobbies, has decided that it’s party time for killers and paedophiles. All at OUR expense.’  

Crime and punishment is one of the areas where the Coalition is most politically exposed. Next week’s publication of the Coalition’s plans for elected police commissioners, an idea that will make the police concentrate on the crimes that most worry the public, should go some way to correcting the balance.