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Ukip backs away from justice debate

UKIP chickened out of an invitation to a debate on the justice system hosted by the Prison Officers Association (POA), it was revealed at the union’s annual conference yesterday.

POA national chairman Pete McParlin said the far-right party had declined to attend a cross-party talk that was be held at the POA’s conference in Southport.

Mr McParlin said privatisation-mad Ukip told the POA that they wouldn’t attend because "they feared they would be ambushed by the POA.”

The union had asked Ukip to join a Question Time style panel featuring representatives from a range of political parties and hosted by Channel 4 News home-affairs correspondent Simon Israel.

Tellingly, the Tories and Lib Dems, who are systemically attacking the criminal justice system by selling it off to dodgy profiteers such as G4S and Sodexo, also refused to take part. Only the Labour Party agreed to attend.

Writing yesterday in the Star, POA general secretary Steve Gillan explained why political figures were avoiding the debate.

“Quite simply they would have been rightly exposed on their shortcomings by our delegates,” he said.

Opening the annual POA conference, Mr McParlin laid bare what coalition led cuts were doing to the prison and psychiatric system, describing it as “the chaos of institutionalised overcrowded of the violent and the mentally ill.”

“It’s warehousing not rehabilitation. Rehabilitation on a scale envisaged by politicians is a myth prevented by the facts, prevented by the figures, prevented by the reality of the criminal justice system,” he told delegates.


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