James Forsyth James Forsyth

Clarke’s crimes

One of the Conservative leadership’s worries at the moment is that the party is losing its reputation for being tough on crime. So it won’t welcome today’s Daily Mail splash about how a prisoner was granted permission by Ken Clarke to father a child by artificial insemination.
Now, we don’t know the precise details of the case, meaning that it is hard to come to a firm judgement. But I understand that when he was justice secretary Jack Straw rejected these kind of applications. He was, one familiar with the issue tells me, of the view that prisoners should not be allowed to benefit from non-medically necessary NHS services.
One intriguing thing to watch is how Ken Clarke responds to this story. Will he, in his usual style, cross the road to pick a fight with, what Clarke calls, the “right-wing press”? If he does, that will only add to Downing Street’s concerns.

UPDATE: So Ken has not crossed the road. Rather, he has, according to the Evening Standard’s Craig Woodhouse, ordered an inquiry into how this has happened.

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