Farage comes out against prison book ban

Nigel Farage has joined the growing chorus of criticism against the prisoner book ban, saying policies on parcels should be left to prison governors, not Whitehall.

The Ukip leader said he himself had been unable to send a book to a prisoner while doing a  Q&A for the Telegraph.

"I was a bit surprised that his wife contacted me saying he couldn't read it," he said.

"It was by me. I didn't think it was subversive. Or perhaps it was.

"I hadn't realised myself those rules were in place."

He added: "On one hand we should want prisoners to read books and better themselves. On the other there's the risk of subversive material.

"I would have thought the answer is dead simple. Rather than being dealt with at a London govermental level, this should be done by the governors themselves."

Prison governors used to be able to make a decision on parcels being sent to inmates, but they were overruled last November when Chris Grayling imposed one rule across the prison estate banning all parcels.

Farage's criticism of the policy is identical to that from the chief inspector for prisons, who also protested at the way Whitehall was governing from the centre.

The decision to replace local rules with one regulation from London has been criticised by some figures for contradicting the government's commitment to devolving power away from Whitehall.