Lord Falconer says Liz Truss should be sacked

Posted On: 
9th November 2016

One of Liz Truss's predecessors as Lord Chancellor has called for her to be sacked for failing to properly defend the three High Court judges at the centre of the Article 50 row.

Liz Truss has come under fore for her reaction to last weeks Articile 50 ruling at the High Court
PA Images

Lord Falconer, who held the post under Tony Blair, said Ms Truss's reaction to the controversy "signals to the judges that they have lost their constitutional protector".

The three judges came in for severe criticism from some politicians and newspapers last week after they ruled that Theresa May must get parliamentary approval before she could trigger Article 50, formally beginning the two-year process of taking Britain out of the EU.

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It took Ms Truss 24 hours to issue a statement backing the "independence and impartiality" of the judiciary, but stopping short of condemning the attacks on them.

In a letter to The Times, Lord Falconer - who was still on Labours frontbench until the summer - said: "It signals to the judges that they have lost their constitutional protector.

"Until she is replaced by someone willing and brave enough to do the job, the judges should rightly fear for their independence."

His comments follow those of Lord Judge, the former lord chief justice, who also criticised Ms Truss yesterday.

He said: "That is one of her functions, to defend the judiciary. And it was a little too late and not a lot.

"To say you believe in independence of judges is fine but it doesn't actually address why this matters at a particular time."

It also emerged that at a meeting of Tory MPs on Monday night, a number of Ms Truss’ colleagues attacked her for failing to come to the defence of the judiciary more swiftly.

“There was a vocal exchange on exactly what the role of the Lord Chancellor should be,” one person who was at the meeting said.

“She claimed that following the Constitutional Reform Act in 2005 it was actually the lord chief justice whose job it was to defend the independence of the judiciary in public. But it was pointed out to her that that would have been hard in this case given that he was one of the judges.”