It is a pleasure, after only two working days in office, to close this important debate and to make my first speech to this House as Minister of State for Justice. I heard a call in this debate, and I will deal with the issue, because my predecessor, my right hon. Friend Rory Stewart, to whom I pay warm tribute, made a pledge. I have already said this, but I will say it again: I am going to do things my way. I am going to bring nearly 30 years of experience in the criminal justice and penal system to bear upon the serious job that I will undertake. The work of the “10 prisons project” will carry on, and we will see its results in the summer. It will continue in the same determined and urgent way that it has pursued up to now.
I am here to reflect on the prison and probation services and, indeed, the whole criminal justice system. I want to leave a legacy that will demonstrate that, in whatever time I am given to serve in this office, I will have played my part in making justice neither tougher nor softer, but smarter when it comes to serving the public.