The justice secretary, Michael Gove, has been censured for personally ringing up prospective candidates for the posts of chief inspectors of prisons and probation to encourage them to apply for the jobs.
The Commons justice select committee says it was “unwise for the secretary of state to ring prospective candidates” when “there should be no perception that either chief inspector is beholden to the minister [responsible] … for those services”.
The strongly worded rebuke to Gove is coupled with concerns that the justice secretary’s preferred candidate for the £130,000-a-year job of chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke, a former Scotland Yard head of counter-terrorism, has such “slender experience and knowledge” of the prison system that a handover period should be arranged with the current chief inspector, Nick Hardwick.
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