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

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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28 Comments

Anonymous

Why are the comments on Robbie Travers closed? I wanted to say that he looks like the lovechild of Bob Geldof and Rebecca Adlington.

(20)(0)
Anonymous

I won’t have that. He actually looks like Princess Beatrice.

(8)(0)
Lord Harley

It’s like he’s the first long haired person in law to embellish his credentials with grandiose claims on social media.

(11)(0)
Silver Medalist

It’s a long way to fall when you’re a self-proclaimed high-flyer.

Every Uni has them- I recall one had a complete mental breakdown at mine when given poor feedback (crying, screaming at the lecturer then being off sick for the rest of the year after having been the high-achieving life and soul of the party).

Much better to be a reasonably high achiever and modest about it, with a bunch of interesting hobbies.

(1)(0)
Anonymous

This is all a superficial distraction from the issues that actually matter.

(2)(0)
Not Amused

Nobody uses titles anymore. No one.

In the old days what you would have had is an LC calling him David to his face or when referring to him amongst friends or civil servants. But in front of the cameras, i.e. ‘in front of the plebs’ said LC would have used the title.

Is that really the world which these people want to take us back to? Having the government effectively perform a pantomime in order to keep the ‘simple folk’ in line?

Just because Truss is a moron, and she is, it does not necessarily follow that we should criticise everything she does. We need to stop being quite as polarised as we are. The US election really should have stopped all of that. Two bloody awful candidates and no matter how much one got worse in any given week – the other one did not get correspondingly better.

The world is not black and white – we may just as well not criticise people who use QC on the twitter thing. That seems rather gauche to me …

(8)(21)
Anonymous

The real point here is her assumed familiarity with someone she should have been formal with. She “Liz” was the Minister; he “David” was the judge.

(3)(1)
Not Amused

“The real point here is her assumed familiarity with someone she should have been formal with”

That’s not a revelation. We are all aware that this is the question. But you just assert it as a normative proposition, you just assert it as a truth. You don’t really say why she has to be formal with him. I clearly don’t agree with your opinion. I at least explained I don’t think formality is required anymore (and explained why society wasn’t as good when we all were).

Dressing up subjective opinions as binding normative propositions is what the Family Division does. Less of that sort of nonsense please.

(2)(4)
SingaporeSwing

Load of bollox

If I were guessing, I bet Lord Andy edged would have preferred to have been referred to on national TV as “Lord Neuberger” with all due propriety

(2)(1)
True-Man LJ

What a sorry state we are in when the LC favours the press over the judiciary. A free press is important; it is a watchdog and a voice against tyranny (or that’s the plan).

That said, it should act responsibly: by seeking to encourage meaningful debate on matters of general interest.

While the Brexit case and Article 50 are of general interest, the slatting of judges for doing their job is of no use to anyone. How can the law have any hope of progression when it is disrespected. People will not value the law if it is dragged through the mud.

I am not saying a bad decision cannot be criticised but attacking judges merely for disagreeing with you? Shameful.

(7)(0)
Anonymous

Not a fan of hers. In fact, I think she’s unfit for the role, but such criticism reflects poorly on the lawyers criticising her than it does upon her. It just makes the profession look elitist. What is this? The serf days? Pre-revolution France?

(4)(3)
True-Man LJ

I think some of the criticism is over the top — it wades into a lesser arena of unsavoury tit for tat and spite — but she is a vacuous moron who has no idea of the constitutional importance of her role.

Because of her mindlessness, she will invariably irk those who do not want to see any further erosion of the profession. That’s when things get incredibly spiteful and it’s then that I think lawyers lose some face.

Still, I doubt very many people like or respect the woman who said barking dogs are effectively combating drones, or cannot answer a direct question with a straightforward answer…

(0)(0)
Anonymous

What a sad state of affairs. Across the pond, you have D. Trump taking on the press – and seemingly winning. Over here, you have the government afraid to do so.

(1)(1)
Officious Bystander

I wouldn’t say he even “seems” to be winning.

(0)(0)
Officious Bystander

Sexists claptrap. People routinely refer to Baroness Hale as “Brenda” and get away with it but when the same treatment is bestowed upon Dave, one gets lambasted!

(0)(1)

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