Constitutional Affairs Committee

Press notice

No. 47 of Session 2006-07

4 October 2007


The work of the Ministry of Justice

The Constitutional Affairs Committee (after the start of the next Session to be re-named the Justice Committee) will take evidence from Right Hon Jack Straw MP, Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor on Tuesday, 9 October at 4.15 p.m.

The Committee is very concerned about prison overcrowding and resources devoted to parole, especially in connection with Indeterminate Sentences for Public Protection (IPP sentences) and the organization of the Parole Board. It is likely that the Committee will also inquire into the industrial relations in the prison service following the recent strike. Also relevant will be the continuing internal review of the organisation of the Ministry of Justice and the future of NOMS. The Committee will wish to explore developments in the continuing dispute between the judges and the Government about independence of the courts administration.

Rt Hon Alan Beith MP, Chairman of the Constitutional Affairs Committee, said:

"Before the summer we issued a Report on the consequences of the creation of the Ministry of Justice and the impact on the constitutional position of the judges. We received startling evidence about the lack of consultation with the senior judges and the severe concerns the judges had about guarantees of their working independence.

The crisis in the prisons is a continuing scandal which the Lord Chancellor must account for. The system of Indeterminate Sentences for Public Protection is in freefall.

We've arranged to take evidence from the Lord Chancellor at the earliest opportunity after the summer on these vital issues."

Details of the oral evidence session are as follows:

Tuesday 9 October in The Grimond Room, Portcullis House

At 4.15pm: Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

A transcript of the session will be available (within 5 days) on the Reports and Publications page of the Committee's website:


1. The Committee previously heard evidence for this inquiry on 24 July 2007. An uncorrected transcript of the oral evidence from that session can be found on the Committee's website at

2. Committee Membership is as follows: Rt Hon Alan Beith MP (Chairman), David Howarth MP, Siàƒ†'à€ 'àƒâ‚à€‚n James MP, Jessica Morden MP, Julie Morgan MP, Robert Neill MP, Mr Andrew Tyrie MP, Rt Hon MP, Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Jeremy Wright MP

Further Information:
Media Enquiries: Jessica Bridges Palmer 020 7219 0724 email: Committee Website:
Select Committee Calendar: