Reshuffle: Ex-City lawyer who claimed foodbank users have ‘cash flow problems’ returns to the MoJ
Dominic Raab MP made a Justice Minister, as fellow commercial solicitor made Work and Pensions Secretary
A former City lawyer who claimed many foodbank users are not “languishing in poverty” but merely have “cash flow problems” is the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) new Minister of State.
Dominic Raab, a Conservative MP for Esher and Walton since 2010, returns to the MoJ having spent a year as its Minister for Human Rights in 2015. Raab replaces former Fenners Chambers barrister Sir Oliver Heald QC as Minister of State, and will work directly under the new Justice Secretary David Lidington.
Raab, who studied law at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, hit headlines last month when he appeared on Victoria Derbyshire’s BBC election debate programme. Referencing data produced by the Trussell Trust — a charity that operates over 400 foodbanks across the United Kingdom — Raab said:
What they [Trussell Trust] tend to find is the typical user of a foodbank is not someone that’s languishing in poverty, it’s someone who has a cash flow problem episodically.
His comments were widely criticised. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, for example, called them “stupid and deeply offensive”.
Having completed his masters at Jesus College, Cambridge, Raab went on to become a lawyer at magic circle outfit Linklaters, specialising in project finance, international litigation and competition law. Keen to make the move into politics, he ditched his legal career and joined the Foreign Office in 2000.
So how are lawyers feeling about Raab’s latest move? We think these tweets speak for themselves:
Dominic Raab has a proud record of supporting legal aid cuts and denying the problems caused by unrepresented litigants in the courts: pic.twitter.com/vI8R1jcUXc
— The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) June 12, 2017
I look forward to meeting with Dominic Raab to discuss why his sanitised view of the crisis facing the family courts is entirely misguided. https://t.co/aC7bVcwE2a
— PJM QC (@pjm1kbw) June 12, 2017
Raab, a solicitor, spent his year at @MoJGovUK working on a UK Bill of Rights paper that was never published. Perhaps he still has a copy.
— Joshua Rozenberg (@JoshuaRozenberg) June 12, 2017
Raab isn’t the only lawyer to land a new role as part of Theresa May’s ministerial reshuffle. David Gauke, MP for South West Hertfordshire and now Work and Pensions Secretary, spent six years in the financial services group at City outfit Macfarlanes.
For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek’s careers events, sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub.