Prime Minister ‘broke the law’ in making Liz Truss Lord Chancellor, says ex-Lord Chancellor

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By Jack Williams on

Theresa May’s bad week continues…

Lord Falconer, a former, well-respected Lord Chancellor, has attacked his Conservative successors’ commitment to the rule of law.

Speaking at the University of Cambridge earlier this week, Falconer said that the Prime Minister “broke the law” under section 2 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 by failing to ensure that Liz Truss was qualified to be appointed Lord Chancellor.

Later, he took the government to task for failing to defend High Court judges when the Daily Mail called them “ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE” because of their ruling in the Gina Miller case. Falconer said that Truss’s fate — being sacked by a Prime Minister who was too politically weak to sack anybody else — should be “a warning” to future Lord Chancellors of what happens if they lose the confidence of the judiciary.

The May-directed element of this sting is, unfortunately for the PM, one of a series of unfortunate events she’s experienced this week. A much-anticipated speech she gave at the Tory party conference will be remembered less for its substance and more for May’s coughing and spluttering throughout, a letter on the sign behind her falling down, and for its interruption by a prankster who tried to hand her a P45.

However, despite calling Truss and her predecessor as Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, “absolute duffers”, Falconer did defend the decision to open up the position of Lord Chancellor to non-lawyers. This was made possible by the Constitutional Reform Act, which Falconer steered through parliament when he himself was in the Cabinet.

Speaking more widely on the effects of the Constitutional Reform Act at the third annual Queen’s College Distinguished Lecture in Law at the Oxbridge university, Falconer said that it had “insulated” judges from government influence. While he noted there was “no going back”, he did say judicial independence needs political support. Take note David Lidington.

Jack Williams is studying a two-year BA in law at the University of Cambridge.

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