Monday, January 25, 2010

Tory Divisions and Pressure Group Insights

The Observer ran this story on Sunday suggesting Tory divisions over its prisons policy. Communications Director Andy Coulson was fingered as having launched a 'prison ships' policy without reference to the actual, er, shadow minister for prisons, Alan Duncan. When he heard of it, Duncan called the policy 'repulsively simplistic'.

Interestingly, one of the people able to throw a bit of light on the development of Tory policy was Frances Crook who, as director of the pressure group Howard League for Penal Reform, is in regular contact with Tory frontbenchers, thus cementing her group's continuing position as a key insider group. The spat also highlights growing concern amongst Tory Party observers and activists that too much policy formulation is decided by a cabal of Cameronite insiders, without reference to the wider shadow ministerial team. The Dannatt appointment is another example of this type of insider mis-management.

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