Derek Lewis (prison governor)

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Derek Lewis (born 9 July 1946)[1] is a former Director General of HM Prison Service, who was sacked in 1995 by then Home Secretary Michael Howard after a series of high-profile escapes by IRA prisoners.[2]

He is most famous, however, for being the subject of an interview which occurred during the 1997 Conservative Leadership contest in which Jeremy Paxman asked whether Mr Howard had threatened to overrule Lewis. The question was put no fewer than 12 times with Howard failing to give a definitive answer.

A 2005 freedom of information request shed new light on the issue.[3]

Lewis studied at Queens' College, Cambridge between 1964 and 1967 where he was a member of the Cherubs dining society.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Birthdays". The Guardian. Guardian Media. p. 35. 
  2. ^ "Actions taken by Michael Howard as Home Secretary". Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  3. ^ Travis, Alan (2005-03-02). "Secret Home Office papers on prison row fail to clear Howard". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2008-05-03.