Blunt 'gave inmate baby permission'
Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt gave a criminal permission to father a baby from behind bars, according to reports.
Mr Blunt's role in the fresh controversy over prisoners' rights was reported after Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke insisted he had not personally seen or authorised the artificial insemination request amid criticism from 10 Downing Street of the way it had been handled.
Officials had initially suggested the go-ahead for artificial insemination of a criminal's partner required the "reasoned" approval of the Secretary of State.
But sources told the Daily Mail that Mr Blunt, who has previously been reprimanded by Number 10 for suggesting prisoners could be allowed to hold parties in jails, approved the decision.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) did not comment on the reports. A review has now been ordered of the decision which the Prime Minister's official spokesman said had "not been dealt with in the way it should have been".
It remains unclear whether the "treatment" is being funded by the taxpayer. Confirmation that an unnamed prisoner had been granted the right to treatment was contained in information released under the Freedom of Information Act. Another five applications are still to be considered, it is understood.
Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Clarke said: "I have never personally authorised a request of this kind nor heard of the case until this morning. I am asking for the circumstances to be investigated and reported back to me."
Asked if David Cameron backed the decision, the PM's spokesman said: "Clearly the fact that they are investigating suggests that they think this has not been dealt with in the way it should have been. We would agree with that."
An MoJ spokesman said prisoners had been able to apply for artificial insemination while behind bars since 1965 and the process was not based on the Human Rights Act.
"Each case is considered on its merits," he said in a later statement which left off the previous reference to it being a decision for Mr Clarke personally. "The Secretary of State will review the issues raised in due course, in order to provide guidance and clarity for future cases of this kind."