Howard's sorry now

The resounding Law Lords' rebuff to Home Secretary Michael Howard will be as sweet to his opponents as scoring the victory over his tariff scheme for compensating criminal injuries.

It has been a long haul since the original judicial review application in autumn 1993, and the initial outcry at not only what Howard was doing to the compensation scheme, but how he was doing it by effectively bypassing the House of Commons. The unions involved and their legal advisers Robin Thompson & Partners are to be congratulated on their determination and persistence.

The Government has responded quickly by saying it will introduce legislation for the tariff scheme. The retort has to be this is what they should have done in the first place, when there would have been a full debate in the Commons. However, Howard's drubbing may have made Tory MPs wary of the whole tariff scheme issue and he may not find it so easy to push through.