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Twitter dismay over new justice committee chair’s defence of legal aid cuts

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Mixed reaction on social media as former barrister and Conservative backbencher Bob Neill was unveiled as parliamentary justice committee chairman

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Robert Neill — a former criminal barrister at London chambers 2 Bedford Row and MP for Bromley & Chislehurst (pictured above) — was unveiled as chairman of the parliamentary justice committee yesterday morning.

In a secret ballot earlier this week, Neill saw off competition from fellow Conservative and ex-SJ Berwin partner Jonathan Djanogly.

Neill, who had publicly defended former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s cuts to legal aid, received a mixed reaction in the Twittersphere.

Some congratulated Neill on his new role, confident he was the right man for the job.

These included, somewhat bizarrely, the Ambassador of Hungary in the UK, Peter Szabadhegy.

However, others were less enthusiastic about the new appointment, including lawyer and legal affairs commentator David Allen Green. The Twitteratti-heavyweight flagged up that Neill had previously sided with the Ministry of Justice when the last coalition government kicked off a round of swinging legal aid cuts.

Others, shared Green’s concern and suggested that Neill would stand by idly as the new Conservative government dismantled the legal aid system.

One tweeter was clearly unsure what Neill’s new role even entailed.

And one criminal barrister predicted a bleak outcome.

Neill, now 62, studied law at the London School of Economics and was first elected as the member of parliament for Bromley & Chislehurst in June 2006.