Lidington: Putting security and rehabilitation at the heart of prison reform
David Lidington, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, speaking today at Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, said:
“Yesterday morning, as Lord Chancellor, I joined our country’s senior judges and lawyers in Westminster Abbey to mark the opening of the new legal year. Then we processed together across Parliament Square to Westminster Hall – the heart of our democracy.
It was a great occasion, a celebration of the long history and ancient traditions of our legal system.
But at heart, what was being honoured was not wigs and robes, nor ritual and protocol, but the living constitutional principles which that ceremony affirmed.
The rule of law and the independence of the judiciary underpin our democracy and lie at the heart of our way of life. They are the very cornerstone of our freedoms.
No individual, no organization, no government is above the law.
That is why the refusal by the leadership of today’s Labour Party to rule out supporting illegal strikes is a shameful abdication of responsibility from a party seeking to govern.
I believe, this party believes, in the rule of law, and in our system of justice that protects the innocent, punishes the guilty, and gives voice to victims.
And after seven years of Conservatives in office, crime is down by a third. More victims of serious crimes – particularly sexual offences – are coming forward, no longer silenced by fear of stigma or mistrust.
Of course there is always more to be done. That’s why, together with Amber Rudd, I am developing a comprehensive strategy to tackle domestic violence and abuse, a pernicious crime that has been in the shadows for too long in our country.
I pay tribute to our Prime Minister, Theresa May, who has been unwavering in the fight against injustice throughout her time at the Home Office and in Downing Street.
I also want to thank my outstanding ministerial team – Dominic Raab, Sam Gyimah, Phillip Lee and Richard Keen, our whips Mike Freer and Charlotte Vere and our PPSs Lucy Frazer and Alan Mak. They all work incredibly hard for our party and for our country.
They deserve our thanks.
The greatest challenge facing our criminal justice system is in our prisons.