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Wednesday, 9 May, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 9 May 07, 05:30 PM

By Carol Rubra, programme producer

justice203.jpgIn an attempt to make the Home Office "fit for purpose" it has been split into two separate ministries - one will focus on counter-terrorism and the other will manage the prison and justice system. Yet the architect of this makeover, John Reid, has announced he's leaving before the job is done. Will the Home Office ever be "fit for purpose"? In a special programme, we examine the key issues facing an incoming Home Secretary and new Prime Minister.

Will the newly restructured Home Office, with its greater focus on counter-terrorism, ensure that the mistakes made leading up to the 7 July bomb attacks never happen again? With four people arrested today in connection with the London bombings we have been in Beeston. The man who warned West Yorkshire police about Mohammed Sidique Khan two years before the attacks tells us that the police failed to respond to his warnings. Could they have intervened earlier and prevented the bombings?

Prisons and the judiciary
The challenges facing the newly formed Justice ministry are just as pressing. The prison population is rapidly approaching capacity and some senior judges have severe reservations about bringing prisons and courts into the same department. Today, Lord Falconer has unveiled his blueprint for his ministry - but will it work?

Can the asylum system ever give protection to those who need it while preventing the thousands who seek to abuse it from doing so? Paul Mason has the story of a Zimbabwean Trade Union activist whose two adult children applied for asylum in the UK. One was granted asylum, the other was refused. What does this say about the state of the asylum system?

And it's possibly been one of the most stage-managed departures in political history. David Grossman takes a look at some of the preparations which are under way ahead of Tony Blair's much trailed announcement of when he is stepping down as Prime Minister.

Jeremy presents Wednesday's programme - on which comments are welcome below...

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