Legal action charity Reprieve questioned today why outgoing Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is to retain responsibility for driving through secret justice plans despite no longer being attached to the Ministry of Justice.
Mr Clarke was one of a number of Cabinet ministers ousted during David Cameron's reshuffle and has been replaced at the MoJ by former employment minister Chris Grayling.
The veteran Tory is now a Minister Without Portfolio but indicated today that he would continue to drive the highly controversial Justice and Security Bill through Parliament.
He said: "When David Cameron first asked me to return to the front bench, we agreed that I would serve in the Cabinet for two years. I am very pleased that he has now asked me to stay on in Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio."
"In my new role I will be joining the National Security Council, along with Cabinet committees on Europe and the economy and will remain a member of the home affairs committee. I will also take the Justice and Security Bill through Parliament."
Under the Bill, which has been strongly opposed by human rights groups and lawyers, the government would be able to introduce secret evidence in cases it deems to be matters of "national security."
The Bill was announced in 2010 by Mr Clarke after the government was forced to settle a civil case brought by former Guantanamo detainees to prevent evidence of complicity in extraordinary renditon and torture emerging.
Reprieve's executive director Clare Algar said: "This is a very strange development, for which there seem to be only three possible explanations.
"Number one, the Prime Minister has appointed a new Justice Secretary who he does not think is capable of handling his own department's legislation - this can surely be dismissed.
"Two, this was never really a Ministry of Justice Bill, but originated instead in those parts of government which wanted to keep their dirty laundry secret.
"Or three, the government feels that Ken Clarke's reassuringly liberal reputation is the only chance this dangerous Bill has of getting through Parliament.
"David Cameron needs to come clean on why it is that he feels the Secretary of State for Justice should not be responsible for a major piece of justice legislation."
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