Peter Hoskin

Khan comes to Ken Clarke’s support (kinda)

Khan comes to Ken Clarke's support (kinda)
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When it comes to the overall sway of British politics, Sadiq Khan's article for the Guardian is probably the most important of the day. We've heard Ed Miliband say before that, "when Ken Clarke says we need to look at short sentences in prison because of high re-offending rates, I'm not going to say he's soft on crime." But Khan's article, a summary of a speech he is giving later today, actually puts that sentiment into practice – and then some. His central argument is straight from the Hush Puppied One's playbook, particularly in its emphasis on the limitations of New Labour's policy:

"Some claim crime fell because of the rise in the numbers imprisoned. But the relationship between crime rates and prison population is more complex than that. And it fails to take into account that most of those in prison today will be released 10 years from now. People want to be assured that on release there won't be a drift back into a life of crime.

A duty to the public must be to stop prisoners reoffending through successful rehabilitation. Although we reduced reoffending rates, they are still at almost 70%, so there's still a lot more to do."

carries through to the headlines

Jack Straw

What's unclear is whether this will help or hinder Clarke. Sure, Khan's words may reflect a growing consensus around the idea that prison needs to be rethought. But, then, given the dissatisfaction with Clarke on his party's right, an endorsement from Labour's shadow justice secretary – however muted – might be the sort of backup he could have lived without. Perhaps Team Ed isn't being that generous, after all.