Time to take notice

Now that David Penry-Davey has added his voice to the scream of disapproval coming from the higher echelons of the profession against Michael Howard's tougher sentencing proposals, surely the Home Secretary will sit up and listen.

The Bar Council chair represents a body that knows the system first hand – a body that counts the Home Secretary as one of its number.

And the solicitors profession also slammed the plans in the past few weeks. Solicitors work more closely with defendants than anyone. They must know that locking people up for longer is going to do nothing to rid society of long-term crime.

Who else is there left to condemn so-called "honesty in sentencing". If both branches of the profession have rejected Howard's plans, then surely that is enough to make him listen. When will the Home Secretary stop trying to anticipate how people will vote and think up policies that are well-informed and not self-interested?