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Tue, 24 November 2020

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By Lord Garnier
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Lady Hale angers Tories with ‘girly swots’ jibe at Boris Johnson

Lady Hale angers Tories with ‘girly swots’ jibe at Boris Johnson
2 min read

Lady Hale has been criticised by Cabinet ministers, after she opened a speech with the words, “Let’s hear it for the girly swots”. 


The President of the Supreme Court made the remark when she opened the Association of State Girls’ Schools annual leadership conference in London, on Friday. 

The remark referred to Boris Johnson, who, in unredacted documents leaked to Sky News, it was revealed had referred to his predecessor David Cameron as a “girly swot”. 

Hale later delivered the court’s unanimous verdict just over a week ago, which found Mr Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament had been unlawful. 

At the conference on Friday, Hale reportedly delivered her speech while stood under a slideshow image of a headline about the verdict: “Spider woman takes down Hulk: viewers transfixed by judge’s brooch as ruling crushes PM”. 

The headline referred to Hale’s spider-shaped brooch, which has since become a symbol of defiance against the Johnson government. 

Following the event, one anonymous Cabinet minister told the Daily Telegraph: “For someone, at such a sensitive time, who has played a prominent part, to be so blatantly involved in stirring up views either way is probably poor judgment.”

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith added: “It was quite clear what she was doing – she was revelling in her recent judgment and the part is…she’s opened herself to the question, ‘who judges the judges?’” 

A spokseman for Lady Hale said she had not been given advance notice of the title of the presentation, which she said had been taken from a newspaper headline for which she was not responsible. 

“Lady Hale said a few words before leaders of girls state schools and was glad to declare support for girly swots in that company,” they added. 

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