Letter: Howard's way

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The Independent Culture
Sir: One can only assume that the writer of your first leader on 6 July was attempting to kick-start the summer silly season by asserting that Jack Straw "has proved to be a fine Home Secretary". Straw's "illiberal instincts", far from being exhibited "occasionally", have proved to be the defining instinct of his tenure, as he apparently attempts to rival Michael Howard as the most reactionary Home Secretary of the 20th century.

Straw has sabotaged attempts to implement the party's manifesto commitments on freedom of information, started moves to deny jury trial to many accused people and failed to support equal rights for gay people.

All this is quite apart from the lamentable performance over the Asylum Bill which your leader writer mentioned.

As the performance of the Passport Office shows, Straw is no more to be trusted to provide competent administration than to create liberal policy.

Is this really your idea of a "fine Home Secretary"?

ERIC THOMPSON

London NW2

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