Chris Mason: questions over how prisoner managed to escape

2023-09-07 01:25:46  • 3 mins

By Chris Mason

Political editor, BBC News

"You're only ever one day away from disaster."

That is how one senior figure at Westminster has described what it's like to be a cabinet minister.

Just such a jaw dropping moment has come for the Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, when he was told about the astonishing sequence of events at Wandsworth Prison in south London.

A terror suspect dressed in a chef's outfit had managed to get out jail by clinging to the underside of a food delivery van.

As gobsmacking as it is absurd.

  • Terror suspect escapes prison by hiding under van

Prisoners escaping is rare.

Escapes from prisons - as opposed to from prison vans, for instance - are rarer still.

And escapes by terror suspects from prison very rare indeed.

All of which means the Governor of Wandsworth Prison will face the most awkward and excruciating of questions about how on earth this was able to happen.

So, what happened next?

I'm told an urgent call was set up between Mr Chalk and the prison governor, where those questions were posed.

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