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My God. He must go.

I read it on the bBC and your conclusion is about right - as words failed me. Sorry guys we've just let a load of criminals out who should have been deported. Oh thats OK then isnt it.

Well we might find them - but don't hold out too much hope!

Oh OK - no problem!

Good grief!!!!

Well Iain Dale certainly thinks he should fall on his sword.

I'm in the same cafe as him actually! (he doesn't know this yet)

Who are you suggesting resign? McNulty or Clarke? McNulty seemed to suggest that many of these releases occurred in 2003 when Des Browne (now with GB in the treasury) was immigration minister. McNulty cannot be blammed for his imcompetant predecessor.

He may well still resign though. The problem NuLab have created for themselves is that the public know that its Ministers go kicking and screaming - if Charles Clarke resigned straight away they know it's a massive issue.

What's another thousand here and there....tough on crime, etc.

James - do you think the public care who was in charge and when? Isnt someone responsible for this - and doesnt the buck stop at the highest level??

I would certainly call for a resignation.

Was John Nott the last guy to resign voluntarily because the buck stopped with him?

Rumsfeld does not resign even over Abu Ghraib. Sometimes I really think there is less honour around than there used to be.

WHat also seems to have changed is that in ministerial cases ignorance appears to be used now as a legitimate excuse. I didn't know what was going on - so it cant be my fault. Is it just me - or is this wrong?

Jonathan - I aggree that the public probably do not care who was in charge but it is still important. You can't go about sacking people when it was not them who made the grotesque error. It shows incompetance in the Home Office but is probably the error of a lazy subordinant not Clarke or McNulty. Indeed, I doubt a few murderers and rapists have enough millage to end either of their careers. The Tories can't jump up and down in Daily Mail fury. DC wouldn't allow it. If the Blues now moan about immigration it would undo some of DC's hard work in pretending to run an entirely new cuddly party.

James - Oh you are cynical :o). People who passionately care about the environment can get narked off about crime too you know.


I can undertand that James but surely no one can think we're nasty for questioning what has gone on here. Camerons got Davis to send out and growl if he doesn't fancy it.

Even by their own incredible standards, this is amazing.

If this lot were to accept that the buck stopped with them, who would they be left with, after one cock up succeeds another.

I think you'll find that the Home Office have had their best year ever, with the most deportations of criminals since 1460.

It's so typical of the media to make this out as a terrible indictment of ministers' ability, when in fact it is the fault of a junior official who has been spoken to.

Why am I still shocked by the shamelessness and lack of dignity exhibited by these people? There is nothing any of them do that would ever be seen as a resigning issue and still 32% of people think they are worth supporting.

Maybe Charles Clarke is not formulating the policy here. Britain has agreed its immigration policy with the EU. How do we know who's actually pulling the strings?

Why should anyone resign if they have carried out the instructions from Brussels to the letter, and abided by Treaty obligations? They should be promoted. There's just the little matter of the Press - have to pretend Britain is still run by the 'government' remember?

Can we nominate Charles Clarke for an ASBO?

William if he was following the rules there would be no need to apologise. A huge mistake has been made, I think thats the point here.

How do they know it's 1,000 if they didn't know about the 1,000 in the first place?

What's also interesting is that, of the 107 located, only 20 have actually been deported. This includes only 5 out of the 14 located to date who had been recommended by the courts for deportation on completion of their sentences. (The other 9 were "considered inappropriate for removal".)

This chameleon is getting distinctly prickly and erupting in poisonous spots! I fear I'll be expelled from the Party ere long ...

"It is unreasonable to expect ministers to know what is going on in every nook and cranny in their department," said Mr Blair's official spokesman.

I love this idea that Blair thinks this is an issue pertaining to the "nooks and crannies" of the Home Office when in fact it is clearly a MAJOR issue of public safety that should have been a priority issue for Clarke.

This on the day that the government also admits that it overpaid £ 2.2 billion in tax credits last year. It can only get away with this sort of thing because of the weakness of the opposition at holding the government to account.

David Davis has just issued the following statement:

“This astonishing admission by the Home Office is the latest in a long line of failures which have jeopardised the protection of the public. 160 of these offenders were recommended for deportation as part of their sentencing but, of these offenders, only five have been deported. This serial incompetence beggars belief.

“How many more times must we put up with the Home Office’s abject failure to protect the public, and how many more times will they seek to duck responsibility for the issue?

“This matter should have properly been a matter for scrutiny by the House of Commons. Instead the Home Secretary chose to brief the press then issue a written statement. The Home Secretary urgently needs to come to the House of Commons to explain the situation.”

So if Edward Leigh, MP had not put down a Written Question this would have been a State Secret under the 100 Year Rule I assume.

It is good that at least one MP is holding the Executive to account though clearly the ome Office will tell us how much these 1023 individuals are contributing to our economy - if they trurn the other 10,265 foreigners in British jails loose it will give the police chance to play 'hide and seek'

Dropping my aitches again just like Eliza Doolittle - for those of you not familiar with "Bunglers' Bailiwick" - it was Home Office

So first Mr Clarke expounds on media misrepresentation, unfairness & bias while presumably knowing he was going to make this statement; clever?

Now its a case of "this is where we are, we need to move on" and next we'll get another set of authoritarian proposals all unecessary if his Dept and its agencies actually did the job they were meant to. Let dangerous felons out on icence without proper face to face parole hearings - so don't bring in hearings but build post release hostels when they shouldn't be out in the first place.

Now its people who should be deported - tomorrow presumably more expensive accomodation, tagging etc rather than simply put them on a plane home.

When will we get the "it'll be easier with ID cards" excuse?

Why should we give Clarke more authority when he can't use the authority he already has effectively.

If this doesn't reduce Labour's Poll % further, I don't know what will, especially seeing Charles Clarke blustering away on the news just now.

The fact that Charles Clark as not explain to the House of Commons what as gone on shows that Parliament is in need of urgent reform so it is far easier for Parliament to call the executive to account.

Good point, Patsy.

It does seem like Labour's chickens are on their way back to the roost, doesn't it?

If the released criminals murder or rape someone then whoever is responsible for their release has a lot to answer for.

The Home Office is a complete shambles; tt needs complete reform from top to bottom. It as as simple as that.

Anyone want to bet that the 1000 prisoner number bears no relation to the real number of foreign prisoners released? I wouldn't be suprised if "only a thousand" statistic is as real as the 45 minute WMDs were...

Clarke says this is not a resigning matter. If this isn't, perhaps he could tell us what IS?

Yes Richard, if it could be proved that the rapist was one of the criminals that has been allowed to disappear, it would be very consoling if the victim was able to SUE the GOVERNMENT, or at least the department involved, but I suppose that is not possible.

Although the cock-up may have been caused by an indolent junior, as suggested before, it seems to me that there is another reason for this cock-up, and that is that there doesn't seem to be enough cross liaising between departments - between the Prison service and the Probation Department, between Immigration and the Home Office, and between the whole lot together. Mr. Monckton and the other sad victims are the evidence for that FACT. It should not be beyond the bounds of possibility OR cost a lot of money to rectify this!! Mind you with many more people coming into this country no doubt some departments are very over-stretched.

David Davis came across very well as usual on Radio 4 this evening. Reasoned and correct.

Still Gordon has this to say on the 12 Days of Clarke-mess

The Conservative party must become better at holding this government to account. It's not Punch and Judy to make sure that gross errors are punished. It’s dereliction of duty to let them go. This sort of almighty cock-up is the sort of event that can truly damage Labour. But we shouldn’t aim at minor ministers, or even Charles Clarke. Tony Blair is the head of the government, and he is the one who should take the flak.

David Cameron should direct his considerable media skills and budget and the whole shadow cabinet to attack Tony Blair for the ramshackle management of his departments that leads to these errors and unaccountability.

"David Cameron should direct his considerable media skills and budget and the whole shadow cabinet to attack Tony Blair for the ramshackle management of his departments that leads to these errors and unaccountability."

Don't hold your breath. Cameron doesn't attack Blair. He only attacks Brown.

The Minimalist State provides internal and external security and a rule of law - this regime cannot even manage that.

Time for the State to lose its monopoly on force and arm the populace. If the police cannot be bothered to keep the streets safe and uphold private property and The State isn't really bothered or competent, time to deregulate gun ownership and return to the position Pre-1920

"Time for the State to lose its monopoly on force and arm the populace. If the police cannot be bothered to keep the streets safe and uphold private property and The State isn't really bothered or competent, time to deregulate gun ownership and return to the position Pre-1920"

Personally I'm all in favour but I can see such a policy destroying any Conservative recovery. People aren't keen on libertarianism, it means they have to look after themselves.

Perhaps if the use of statistics was consigned to oblivion, then true Blair and Hewitt and co. wouldn't be able to USE them to be economical etc: etc:, but the police would be able to spend more time in the community, teachers teaching their pupils etc: etc:!!!

"People aren't keen on libertarianism, it means they have to look after themselves." - Richard

...and think for themselves...and be responsible...Oh the horror of it.

I think John Nott offered to resign over the Falklands but was turned down. Lord Carrington did resign. That was a different breed of politician back then, men of honour.

One has to remember, that Nulab will never, ever, admit it got ANYTHING wrong. Not even if you strung it up by its collective B---s.

One must remember the Clarke is only Home Secretary because the previous incumbent was forced to resign. Blair is in a dangerous bind with this on the one hand if he accepts Clarkes resignation it adds to the sense of political death around his regime in Downing Street. If he however follows past form and sticks by his man until his man bows to the pressure then it will be ten times worse.

All this comes from not having enough top quality MP's who are ministerially capable. It is the inherent danger of manipulating the selection process so that people get selected on criteria other than pure and simple ability, but that is another thread.

This is something that Cameron, Davis and rest of frontbench must lead on:
- The Home Office. Agencies and its Sectretaries of State since 1999 have failed to manage a significant number of prisoners not only in this case but also in the cases of British prisoners under licence or supervision.
- The Home Office has aquired significant extra judicial powers including those of detention without trial. Can we trust the judgement of Clarke in these matters when he has so obviously failed in his oversight of the release & subsequent management of prisoners.
- it was revealed that since this was brought to his notice last year another 200 foreign prisoners were released.

So PM up to his eyes in cash for peerages, Gordons Tax credits causing another £2bn pain for the most needy, Hewitt's NHS having "its best year ever", Clarke overseeing a department unable to manage (while he lectures the media and extols 'modern' aproaches to justice that recall the first Elizabethan age)

Sorry Dave but now its time for you to let the Punches lose on the Judies opposite.

Hint: Simmering rage is much more effective from someone who is normally well mannered and polite.

I can feel a re-shuffle of the Labour cabinet coming on.

It was announced during the 10 o'clock news that 288 were released since August 05 - on Clarke's watch.

Downing Street says Tony Blair has "full confidence" in both Mr Clarke and Mr McNulty.

They'll be gone by Friday.

Utterly incompetent, completely out of control and a total shambles.

Charles Clarke should have some dignty and accept the failures of his department. Go.

Then again Jack Straw didn't resign when it turned out that Labour had failed to renew the Prevention of Terrorism Act for a whole year, there are countries where a minister being so incompetent would probably face a real firing squad for such incompetence and dereliction of duty but he wasn't even sacked.

If there was mandatory Execution & Torture for murder, rape, breaches of the Terrorism Act, breaches under the Offical Secrets Act, any theft\fraud\vandalism or damages from all offences committed by one person amounting to in excess of the value of £1m, writing computer viruses, treason and a number of other offences then the prisons would be likely to be far freer and processing of prisoners would go faster and more efficently.

And of course all paedophiles should be executed too, a Biometric nased ID database of all UK citizens and everyone passing through the UK and it being a criminal offence if anyone is found who is not on the database meaning automatic imprisonment and interrogation until identity could be established.

Utterly incompetent, completely out of control and a total shambles.

Charles Clarke should have some dignty and accept the failures of his department. Go.

It is a rule that every British Government proceeds to make its predecessor look marvellous in the eyes of the voter and every Labour Minister undoes his predecessor's work.

Removing Clarke could expose the Home Office to Hewitt or Miliband or Kelly - whereas simply accepting that he country is like Nigeria without oil makes the decadence understandable.

After all we know Blunkett busy engaging in social intercourse with Kimberley Fortier so he could not check on anything other than her nanny's visa. We know the Deupty Porcine has been counselling his secretary on her performance and that has taken up a lot of his time, and The "Leader" has been looking for Cherie's crystals and communing with Sylvia Caplin.

It is time for the public to resign itself to such matters - it is not as if there are many competent administrators available in Parliament.

Most likely the staff are so demotivated by directives and orders they just do the minimum and go for inner-resignation and just don't bother doing more than they have to. It is a sign of a demoralised public administration when the wheels fall off the carriage. It is a sign of reduced autonomy and a command system of control without coherence or depth

Morning Rick

You may be right. Nevertheless it will be interesting to see how far the opposition pushes this one. If Davis is not allowed to shove at this open door, God help us.

What we need is to ask him how he will react to the news that one of these has committed a serious crime. Will he personally say sorry to the bereaved if they kill someone?

Like with any resignation, the aim show be a slow one, not a quicky.

Yet Another Anon,

Were you also the one who advocated banning far-left and far-right parties? I'm all for restoring the death penalty but the measures you suggest are excessive, especially regarding the ID base. I'm starting to wonder if your posts are supposed to be taken seriously.

"starting to wonder" Richard? I think the term for Yet Another Anon is Troll.

Is today a good day for Prescott to bury bad news?

>>>>I think the term for Yet Another Anon is Troll.<<<<
I have always supported Capital Punishment and always supported banning disruptive elements such as the BNP, Sinn Fein, Class War - I favour a points based system for punishment to ensure that the more heinous the crimes the more severe the punishment should be, I think it is the best of some past systems, for example if you are familiar with Scotland in the late 17th century century and in much of the 18th century it was a very ordered society, surely a problem with modern society is lack of discipline and there is much that can be learned from the past but coupled with modern technology and updated and of course leaving out some elements that were purely related to superstition such as burning of witches and religious persecution that went on in those days.

I would say exactly the same things if I was posting anywhere else

Hugo Rifkind says this on his weblog:

"Bookmakers William Hill have refused to accept bets on Charles Clark resigning. Hills spokesman Rupert Adams said, "We have had a number of enquires from clients wanting to place bets on Mr Clark resigning in the next forty eight hours but we feel that it is certainty, so we will not be accepting these wagers."


It occurred to me earlier that Charles Clarke may be used as a means of diverting attention from Patricia Hewitt given that the whole of the government's contention that increased public investment in Personal Healthcare could improve things has been fundamentally shown to be intellectually bankrupt, the government now cannot accept this without destroying the Labour government so they have to rely on public perception that it is still possible - ultimately there will come a point where people turn against liberal social policies and high levels of spending on health and welfare on the grounds that bost are based on wildly optimistic premises.

The really amazing thing is how the Home Office doesn't even have details on the offences committed by 100 of these people - surely this is a strong case for making everything that goes on anyones criminal record permanent unless they are proven innocent, it is partly the problem of the Human Rights Acts - under these they have to consider what will happen to people deported when they return to their Home Countries, in my opinion the position should be that if they break the law this should not be a consideration and they should forfeit such rights even though the actual severity of the case obviously still has to be considered when deciding whether to deport someone after their sentence - for some offences deportation after the sentence should be automatic.


133 of the 1023 convicts released without being considered for deportation could not be deported because they are nationals of other EU member states, UKIP Leader Roger Knapman MEP said today (26.4.06).

Mr Knapman said that the Government had granted full residence and employment rights to nationals of other EU member states, and that deportation would be illegal under EU rules which prevent discrimination on the grounds of nationality.

“It is frankly disingenuous of the Home Secretary to suggest that he can deport all foreign criminals at the end of their sentences, when in fact 13% of them are ineligible for deportation by virtue of their EU citizenship.

Helpful as you are to inflict UKIP press releases on us there have been a number of court cases, including up to ECJ, that allow for citizens of EU countries to be deported from other EU countries (it has happened at fotballl tournaments to UK citizens).

'If you are familiar with Scotland in the late 17th century and early 18th century it was a very ordered society'.You jest surely.Wasn't this the time of the Covenanters,the Glencoe massacre,Rob Roy and no less than 3 major rebellions against the government!

Reading and listening to the reports it is apparent that it was only the PAC meeting today that resulted in any action. Charles Clark was forced to tell the truth yesterday because it would have come out today. The Police were only given the names yesterday - so much for urgent action, would they have had the names if the PAC hadn't planned to meet.

If the PAC hadn't planned to look at this for another couple of months we wouldn't have known today, the police wouldn't have been seeking the mising 900 today, and in all probability a few more foreign releasees would be walking the streets today.

>>>>'If you are familiar with Scotland in the late 17th century and early 18th century it was a very ordered society'.You jest surely.<<<<
I made a slight sort of freudian slip and actually mean't late 16th century and early 17th century during the times after the Scottish Reformation and during what is referred to as the Presbyterian Revolution - later in the 17th century the Covenanters were fearless warriors who threw themselves into battle if need be and were prepared to fight to the last drop of their blood for their principles and most people these days in which I include myself in comparison are a bunch of passive pansies subdued by liberal culture and a lifetime of conditioning by the state that if we have problems that the state will sort them out for us.

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