Mixed reaction on social media as former barrister and Conservative backbencher Bob Neill was unveiled as parliamentary justice committee chairman
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.
Delighted and honoured to be elected Chairman of the Justice Select Committee by my Parliamentary colleagues – can’t wait to get started.
— Bob Neill (@neill_bob) June 18, 2015
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.
@neill_bob Congratulations Bob, great news. You will do a brilliant job.
— Alex Thomson (@AJBThomson) June 18, 2015
These included, somewhat bizarrely, the Ambassador of Hungary in the UK, Peter Szabadhegy.
@neill_bob Congratulations, Bob! Well-deserved vote of confidence.
— Peter Szabadhegy (@AmbSzabadhegy) June 18, 2015
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.
— Jack of Kent (@JackofKent) June 18, 2015
Others, shared Green’s concern and suggested that Neill would stand by idly as the new Conservative government dismantled the legal aid system.
I can't see @neill_bob being the sort of Chair that is going to hold a government to account. Alas.
— TonyCross (@Lokster71) June 18, 2015
One tweeter was clearly unsure what Neill’s new role even entailed.
@neill_bob /Hi there so whats your job meant to do please?as really need your help please?
— Kathy Bamber (@TobiousK) June 18, 2015
And one criminal barrister predicted a bleak outcome.
— CrimBarrister (@CrimBarrister) June 18, 2015
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.