Why Starmer employed key boss as prisons minister | EUROtoday

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Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer says he has appointed a CEO identified for using ex-offenders as the brand new prisons minister as a result of he “walks the walk”.

James Timpson, of the Timpson Group, which offers key chopping and shoe restore companies, has made a reputation for himself hiring a whole bunch of former prisoners. He beforehand stated solely a 3rd of individuals in jail needs to be there.

During his first information convention as prime minister on Saturday, Sir Keir stated Mr Timpson had invested “a huge amount over many years” into rehabilitating offenders and he was “very pleased” to have given him the submit.

His feedback got here after jail governors final week warned jails may run out of area inside days, placing the general public at risk.

Mr Timpson was not elected by the general public and isn’t an MP however will now sit within the House of Lords, the higher chamber of parliament which scrutinises the work of the federal government and recommends modifications to proposed laws.

Alongside working his key chopping enterprise, the 52-year-old is the chair of UK charity the Prison Reform Trust, which goals to scale back imprisonment and enhance circumstances for inmates and households.

Nazir Afzal, former chief crown prosecutor for North West England and an advocate of the brand new authorities, referred to as Mr Timpson’s appointment “ground-breaking”.

“We could see a significant sea change in how we deal with crime and offenders in this country,” he stated.

“We’ve had a culture for far too long of putting people inside who shouldn’t be.”

However, former Labour house secretary David Blunkett stated working in authorities was difficult.

“I think it’s a positively good thing if [Mr Timpson] is able to navigate the minefield of government,” he stated.

“Not just to say the right thing but to really achieve positive change in a radical rethink of how we do prisons and probation.”

But some have little sympathy for criminals and imagine in harsher and longer sentences.

One Tory MP, who didn’t need to be named, stated: “The public want to see people properly punished for breaking the law but I get there needs to be a rethink.”

Last week, the Prison Governors’ Association (PGA), which represents greater than 95% of all jail governors and managers working in England and Wales, stated the complete prison justice system “stands on the precipice of failure” because it referred to as on the subsequent authorities to sort out issues “without delay”.

Mr Timpson is now the individual assigned to checking out the disaster as a matter of urgency, together with new Justice Secretary Shabana Mahmood.

In February, Mr Timpson spoke brazenly about his views on the justice system, telling Channel 4 there wanted to be an overhaul.

“We’re addicted to sentencing, we’re addicted to punishment,” he stated.

“So many of the people in prison in my view shouldn’t be there. A lot should but a lot shouldn’t, and they’re there for far too long.”

Asked if he agreed with Mr Timpson’s remarks at Saturday’s information convention, Sir Keir stated: “I’ve sat in the back of I don’t know how many criminal courts and watched people processed through the system on an escalator to go into prison.

“And I’ve usually mirrored that lots of them may have been taken out of that system earlier in the event that they’d had help, and that’s the reason what we need to do with our youth hubs and on knife crime is basically, actually vital, as a result of I need to cut back crime.”

The prime minister stated “we have got too many prisoners and never sufficient prisons”, calling it a “monumental failure of the final authorities”.

“We’ll repair [it]however we won’t repair it in a single day,” he said.

“We do must be clear about the way in which we use prisons and we have to get away from the truth that so many individuals go away jail after which are again in jail fairly shortly.

“That is a massive problem that we need to break and that’s why I was very pleased to put James into the post, someone who hasn’t just talked the talk, he’s actually walked the walk for many years.”

He added that if younger individuals, notably boys, are provided help at a “point of intervention” within the early teenage years, it may guarantee a few of them “do not get on that escalator” to imprisonment.

Mr Timpson is one among three stunning ministerial appointments made by Sir Keir since his election win on Friday.

Sir Patrick Vallance, who served because the UK’s chief scientific adviser in the course of the Covid pandemic, has grow to be science minister.

And Richard Hermer KC, who has 31 years of expertise in human rights, public and environmental legislation, has grow to be legal professional normal.

Prime ministers appoint ministers from exterior of parliament for a variety of causes.

Experts from business or academia are sometimes appointed on account of their expertise or specialist information. This was notably frequent within the aftermath of the 2008 monetary disaster, when Gordon Brown and David Cameron appointed specialists on economics, banking and finance from exterior parliament to their governments.

In different instances, prime ministers can appoint former MPs, together with those that have stepped down from parliament or misplaced their seats, with the intention to permit them to hold on in an current ministerial position. Other people could also be appointed as advisers to authorities reasonably than as full ministers, though these roles are sometimes referred to informally as “tsars”.

Jill Rutter, senior fellow on the Institute for Government, informed the BBC: “I think there are potentially big benefits to a government having people who can bring genuine expertise.

“Someone like Patrick Vallance has truly been inside authorities so he is aware of what it is like. It’s a extremely fascinating appointment.

“It is useful and the big task is to make this work both for the government and for the new incoming minister as well – to make sure they are properly supported in all their new duties and make sure they don’t find themselves distracted from what they think they’ve been brought in to do.”