Britain’s Interior Minister has come under renewed pressure to quit after revealing that several foreign prisoners freed from UK jails have reoffended.
Charles Clarke has been under fire since disclosing that over 1,000 foreigners, including murderers and rapists, were released after serving their sentences – when they should have been considered for deportation. “I do apologize. I have apologized. I continue to do so. It is not right that that should be the state of affairs,” said Clarke. News that at least five of the prisoners have been convicted of new offences, including drug-related and violent crimes, comes at the end of one of the worst weeks of Tony Blair’s premiership. Several members of his cabinet are caught up in controversy in the run-up to a crucial test of popularity for his ruling centre-left Labour Party. Next Thursday England goes to the polls in local elections. Labour and other mainstream parties fear voters could desert them in droves, to the benefit of the far-right British National Party. Opinion polls indicate it is set to make significant gains.