The Home Secretary has become the focus for media and opposition party attacks over the decision of a judge to impose a suspended prison sentence on a man for downloading child pornography.

Passing sentence Judge John Rogers QC said his sentence reflected the “current climate” and follows a letter sent by John Reid reminding the judiciary about sentencing guidelines already in place because of prison overcrowding (

Mr Reid has famously and previously stated that parts of the Home Office were not “fit for purpose” and his comment has now come back to haunt him. He also faced criticism earlier this week for revealing plans to split the Home Office in his attempts to overhaul the troubled department.

There are now, inevitably, calls for his resignation over the latest controversy involving the apparent lenient sentence imposed on a convicted paedophile.

But will that actually resolve such problems?Mr Reid is the third Home Secretary in a relatively short period of time – following on from David Blunkett and Charles Clarke – and what the Home Office needs now is some continuity and stability.

An ailing business would not inspire confidence if it continually hired and fired chief executives as it tried to reverse a slump.

By chopping and changing so frequently the Government is merely papering over the cracks.

Satisfying the headline writers, the pundits and the opposition who are calling for heads to roll won’t necessarily lead to a satisfactory solution.

Surely the best way to signal disapproval of the way the Home Office and by association the Government is run is at election time?

If they aren’t working, if they aren’t fit for purpose, vote them out.


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