Lawyers slam Liz Truss for calling Lord Neuberger ‘David’ in ‘car-crash’ TV interview

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By Katie King on

One barrister said she shouldn’t be let out without a ‘carer’

Things seem to be going from bad to worse for Lord Chancellor Liz Truss.

Days after Legal Cheek exclusively reported the Justice Secretary had irritated new QCs with her badly judged silks day speech, Truss has been lambasted for her performance on ‘The Andrew Marr Show’. The Express went as far as to call it “car-crash”.

Host Marr kicked off the interview by asking Truss whether the House of Commons will use the Parliament Act if the House of Lords holds up the Brexit bill, which is being debated today. To this Truss had very little to say, but did note she was confident the upper house would respect the will of the people.

After a lot of prodding from the veteran TV presenter, Truss was eventually more forthcoming when asked whether she thinks Article 50 is revocable. This is a question which will be put before the Irish courts in the spring, thanks to a legal challenge brought by Devereux Chambers’ Jolyon Maugham QC. Eventually she said “my understanding is it’s irrevocable”.

However, things really hotted up when she was pressed on her work defending the judiciary against the media.

The Lord Chancellor was lambasted for failing to shield the judges involved in the Brexit litigation against the wrath of the tabloid newspapers, with some constitutional law experts claiming she might have even broken the law by doing so. Last week, the president of the Supreme Court said in an interview that politicians, i.e. Truss, “could have been quicker and clearer” in their defence of judges who came under attack from the Daily Mail and friends.

After Marr reminded Truss of this, she said:

I will not criticise and say to the free press what they should write in their headlines.

She revealed she thought it was “fantastic” Lord Neuberger had spoken to the press about the Supreme Court and claimed she encouraged him to do so. She also called him David, twice, which pissed off some of the Twitterati.

It wasn’t just criminal barrister Forshaw who took issue with Truss’ performance. Later on in her interview, the Justice Secretary claimed the country doesn’t need more prison officers because of the government’s plan to “digitise our jails”. To this, anonymous legal blogger the Secret Barrister had only this response.

Further grumbles came from the likes of barrister Jerry Hayes, who simply asked “why is Liz Truss so low grade?”. Responses to his query included “staggeringly inept” and “she’s so awful”. Another tweeter said Truss’ Andrew Marr performance was “an example of how not to do a TV interview”. Hayes later claimed Truss shouldn’t be let out without a “carer”. Ouch.

You can watch the full interview here (skip to 45 minutes).

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