A Tory MP actually said this about books in prisons

You may know Philip Davies as the Tory MP who suggested sex education had increased the number of teenage pregnancies - despite rates being at their lowest since 1969. Or maybe you heard of him when he publicly accused Jon Snow of being "past it".

Today he had more pearls of wisdom to inflict on the general public, telling the BBC's Daily Politics that last week's decision by a judge to lift the ban on books being sent to prisoners was "absolutely wrong" and "idiotic".

Why? According to Davies, prisoners could be being sent copies of War and Peace containing secret codes. Yes, really. This is what he had to say about the matter during a round table on the subject with Daily Politics presenter Andrew Neil and author Francesca Simon.

Davies: People are receiving not just gifts from people, they're receiving pornographic material, stuff that's been sent it for paedophiles...

Simon [interrupts]: That's why packages are searched.

Davies: It could be in War and Peace, it could be in pages 350-380...

Simon: So you pick up the book and you flip through it.

Neil: They just have to check the book's package. If a book is coming into prison they open the package, that's what prisons have to do, they just flick through the book. If it's a book it's a book. If it's got a gun in the middle of it, you don't pass it on.

Davies: What about material that's been changed in books for the benefit of paedophiles? What about certain things that have been underlined that have got codes in there for prisoners? These things happen in prisons.

Neil: Are you telling me that War and Peace is coming into prisons with secret codes in it?

Davies: Absolutely, this is what happens in prisons I think you're not giving the prisoners the credit for how ingenious they are.

Neil: Have you got any examples of that or have you got it mixed up with the Da Vinci Code?

Asked to comment on the likelihood of Davies' scenario actually happening, Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, told i100.co.uk: “All the evidence shows that books for prisoners help towards a stable prison life and rehabilitation.”

You can watch the entire video on the Daily Politics Facebook page here. Heard via PoliticsHome.

More: Nick Clegg: you shouldn't go to prison for possessing drugs

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