[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
In quotes: Home Office split reaction
The government has announced plans to split the Home Office in two, creating separate two separate departments for security and for justice. Leading figures give their reaction.

TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER

Our counter-terrorism capabilities are among the best in the world.

However, the continuing and growing threat from terrorism means that the government must develop and improve its counter-terrorism and security capabilities, and its governance.

JOHN REID, HOME SECRETARY

We are refocusing the Home Office - not for the first time in its history - towards the priorities of today's world and the priorities of today's people.

DAVID CAMERON, CONSERVATIVE LEADER

I think splitting the Home Office is going to be a massive distraction.

In any organisation if it's failing, splitting it up in two and having a massive administrative change isn't sensible.

What is this government's brilliant solution to this problem? It's to put prisons in one department and immigration in another department.

SIR MENZIES CAMPBELL, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER

We have supported splitting the Home Office's functions for some considerable time, but it is very important that this is neither rushed nor botched.

There is some political gossip to the effect that Gordon Brown is against splitting the Home Office and the inference will be that what the prime minister and John Reid are about is trying to push this through before Gordon Brown takes over.

This risks transforming a good idea into a botched job.

DAVID DAVIS, SHADOW HOME SECRETARY

The logic, presumably, is that this job is too difficult for the home secretary to do.

It has been well run in the past by home secretaries of all parties, when it was much bigger and still had responsibility for licensing, gambling, broadcasting, fire, civil defence, human rights, equal opportunities and charities.

Breaking it up will solve none of the Home Office's problems. It will just create a whole new raft of problems.

NICK CLEGG, LIB DEM HOME AFFAIRS SPOKESMAN

We retain serious questions about the wisdom of giving so many new anti-terror powers to the home secretary when the Cabinet Office is better placed to co-ordinate between departments, and has already been doing so.

JOHN DENHAM, CHAIRMAN HOME AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE

If you have a home secretary who wakes up every morning worrying about terrorism, the question is who is going to wake up in the morning worrying about anti-social behaviour and that end of the crime and justice spectrum?

Terrorism is very serious, but more people went to bed last night worrying about yobs on the street corner rather than terrorism.

HARRY FLETCHER, NAPO PROBATION UNION

Napo welcomes the creation of a Ministry of Justice - we have been calling for it for over 20 years.

The Home Office is too large and had become increasingly dysfunctional.

However, there must be full consultation with unions and others to make sure this doesn't lead to more confusion and bureaucracy.

We need reassurances that probation's work with the police - with both agencies now in separate departments - will not be undermined, and also that the separation of sentencing and crime reduction will not lead to a lack of coherent policy.

LORD PHILLIPS, LORD CHIEF JUSTICE

The senior judges have already made it plain that structural safeguards must be put in place to protect the due and independent administration of justice.

These concerns must be addressed. Provided that they are, there would be no objection in principle to the creation of a new ministry with responsibility for both offender management and the court service.

NICK PEARCE, INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH

There are sound reasons for creating a Ministry of Justice and a refocused Home Office.

But restructuring is no guarantee of good performance. Wider civil service reform is still imperative, and crime reduction policies need to change.

We need to ask the question: fit for what purposes?


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific