Lord McNally

Helen Warrell

Tom McNally, the Lib Dem peer and justice minister, may face a less than positive reception when he returns to the Ministry of Justice after the party conference in Birmingham.

As the Guardian  reported today, Lord McNally has already weighed in against his Tory colleagues at repeated fringe events, suggesting that the decision to add the word “punishment” to the government’s legal aid and sentencing bill was the work of “little elves that work in No 10″ helping the prime minister to get the right-wing media on side.

These comments were followed by a remarkably frank discussion of the MoJ’s move to transform the justice system and reduce reoffending through payment by results, at a fringe meeting looking at who should profit from the penal system.

Asking rhetorically whether the introduction of private providers into the prison service was “a sin against the holy ghost [of public provision] or a sensible way of the government financing much-needed services and competition”, Lord McNally acknowledged that the PBR drive had ultimately pragmatic motives. Read more