Justice system neglected as never an election issue, says ex-ministerPhilip Lee, a former Tory justice minister, says the system has been under strain for some time but reform has been neglected as it is not seen as a vote-winner in elections.He said it was clear there were problems with the probation system when he took office back in 2016. Probation was privatised by the-then justice secretary Chris Grayling in 2012.Dr Lee, who is standing as a Liberal Democrat, said: “I wasn’t the probation minister but I picked up in meetings that there were difficulties.”It was something which actually quite a few ministers at the time, who now are no longer Conservatives I note – David Gauke, Rory Stewart, Sam Gyimah, who was a probation minister, myself – we were all trying to get things done, make progress on sentencing, so we could put away serious criminals for longer, but maybe people who were on minor offences, tag them more.”But we always got a resistance, mainly from the centre. Justice has never been an issue for a general election. The problem is that it has always been something of we’ll do the health service, we’ll do education. This has always been the approach of most political parties.”He said the justice system was “really strained, really stretched” and “mistakes are made”.

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