Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate and a former prisons minister, has welcomed the justice secretary’s decision not to challenge the release of John Worboys.
The MP says judicial review wouldn’t have had a reasonable chance of success and would have been a waste of taxpayers’ money.
The controversial Parole Board ruling, that Worboys be freed, has featured extensively in national news. The former London taxi driver, aged 60, was found guilty in 2009 of attacks on 12 women in London – including a rape – and received an indeterminate sentence with a minimum of 8 years.
Mr Blunt, who served as prisons minister between 2010 and 2012, said of the announcement that ministers would not challenge the Parole Board’s decision:
“I am glad that the Secretary of State has recognised that a legal challenge by the Government would have no reasonable prospect of success. He has rightly resisted the temptation to do a populist thing which would have been wasteful of taxpayers’ money.
Whilst there is genuine public concern about this case and the Parole Board recognise the importance of getting the licence conditions right, it is crucial that bodies such as the Parole Board are able to take these difficult decisions – following due process and weighing up all the information available to them – free of political interference.
As there are no grounds on which a government action could be expected to be successful in this case, it is right that the Secretary of State has instead initiated a review of Parole Board decision-making transparency, victim involvement in Parole Board hearings, and arrangements for communicating with victims.
If the Parole Board loses support for its decisions, it will not have the confidence to operate independently and to make sensible judgements, which would harm the delivery of justice, probation and rehabilitation.
I’m pleased that the Secretary of State is taking action to bolster public confidence in Parole decisions without undermining the Parole Board’s independence.”
A BBC news video of the justice secretary’s remarks is below.
Main image credit: Photo of Crispin Blunt from UK Parliament, used under licence (cropped)