Probation reforms far from complete, warn MPs. The government's promised "rehabilitation revolution" in England and Wales is "far from complete", an influential committee of MPs has said.
There was "no clear picture" of how the probation system was performing, two years after changes had been announced, the Public Accounts Committee said. And it said IT problems had "undermined the pace of change". The government said it was committed to delivering the "vital reforms" and reducing re-offending rates.
Probation changes explained Government changes announced in 2014 have seen the probation service split in two, with: Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) supervising low- and medium-risk offenders a new National Probation Service (NPS) taking over the supervision of high-risk offenders. Drone killings: Legal case 'needs clarifying' Image copyright Handout The legal case for using drone strikes outside of armed conflict needs "urgent clarification" from ministers, a cross-party parliamentary committee has said.
The government insisted it did not have a "targeted killing" policy, but was clearly willing to use lethal force overseas for counter-terrorism, the Joint Committee on Human Rights said. Two UK citizens were killed in Syria last year by an RAF drone. The government says it takes "lawful action" over direct threats to the UK. Reyaad Khan, a British member of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, was targeted and killed by an RAF drone in Syria last August. When is it legal to kill your own citizens? Drone strikes: Do they actually work? 'Self-defence' Belle de Jour author cautions MPs over rethink of prostitution laws.
The criminalisation of payment for sex would dissuade sex workers from reporting violence against them, Brooke Magnanti, the former London call girl better known by her alias Belle de Jour, has told a group of MPs.
Appearing before a home affairs select committee hearing on prostitution and the sex industry, Magnanti, 40, a research scientist, blogger and author, said: “If you criminalise buying sex, the prostitute knows she becomes the evidence. Police will be instantly suspicious, they ask to see your papers, examine your premises. She might be coerced by police into giving evidence against other people.” Prison safety 'deteriorating' in England and Wales, say MPs. Prison safety in England and Wales has "deteriorated further" and urgently needs improving as figures show escalating self-harm, violence and disorder, a group of MPs has said.
The number of self-inflicted deaths in prisons rose by 26% - from 79 to 100 - in the 12 months to March, according to a report by the Justice Committee. Its chairman Bob Neill said prison safety was a matter that "cannot wait". Prisons minister Andrew Selous said improvements were being made. Britain's slow response to Ebola crisis cost lives, MPs' report says. Delays and poor planning hampered Britain’s response to the worst Ebola outbreak in history and added to the thousands of deaths recorded in the crisis, a report by MPs has found.
More than 11,000 people died in the epidemic that began in Guinea in late 2013, but more lives could have been saved had the UK been better prepared, says the report published on Monday. Britain’s reaction to the crisis experienced delays at every stage and, when it finally swung into action, was ad hoc and uncoordinated, the Commons science and technology committee says. The government is criticised for a raft of shortcomings, from failing to share disease surveillance data quickly enough, to calling on scientific expertise months after its emergency committee had met, to making Ebola test kits that were never deployed. “Scientists, health workers and agencies did a heroic job working around the clock to confront the Ebola outbreak, sometimes at risk to their own lives.
UK drone strike to be investigated by MPs. Image copyright PA MPs are to investigate the "intelligence basis" for a UK drone strike which killed two British Islamic State jihadists in Syria.
A Point of View: Do parliament's select committees wield too much power? - BBC News. Parliamentary select committees have seen their profile grow over the past few years, but are they the right way of holding power to account, asks Tom Shakespeare.
The recent expose of senior backbenchers selling themselves as advisers is only the latest of a series of scandals that have brought Parliament into disrepute. Back in the 1990s, there was "cash for questions". In 2009, widespread abuse of the expenses system was revealed by the Daily Telegraph, leading to four parliamentarians being jailed and many others disgraced. But even without this rottenness, there can be scepticism about the way the House of Commons operates. Many people are repelled by Prime Minister's Question Time, when the Commons chamber becomes a cross between a school playground and a bear pit.
However, it's not all bad news for politicians. Select committee chief lashes out at Sir Philip Green over BHS sale. The MP leading an analysis into the collapse of BHS has lashed out at its former owner Sir Philip Green over the sale of the business to people who “crash[ed] it into a cliff”.
The retail billionaire, his wife Tina and Anthony Grabiner, chairman of Green’s retail empire Arcadia for more than a decade, are being asked to appear before two parliamentary committees to give evidence about the high street chain’s demise. Iain Wright MP, who chairs the Commons business, innovation and skills select committee, said Green had “enormous questions” to answer. Wright highlighted the sale of the business to Dominic Chappell, a former bankrupt who bought BHS via a company called Retail Acquisitions last year. Retail Acquisitions argues that it spent £10,000,001 to buy BHS, because it invested £10m in shares on top of the deal’s notional £1 price tag.
He told Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are keen to find out who knew what, when.