England: Liz Truss accused of causing ‘constitutional breakdown’ over failure to defend judiciary
A former Lord Chief Justice has warned that the present incumbent has caused a “constitutional breakdown” and may even have broken the law by failing to defend judges over the Brexit case.
Liz Truss’ (pictured) failure to defend the High Courtjudges was a breach of her statutory duty according to Lord Judge, 75.
Speaking to The Times, he said: “She is in relative terms a very inexperienced politician with no legal experience, who has been silent — and answered to Downing Street when she should have been independent.
“It is very serious. At the heart of it is a constitutional obligation on the Lord Chancellor to speak and on this issue there has been silence.”
Ms Truss has been heavily criticised following her failure to defend the judiciary in the wake of the High Court’s ruling that Parliament’s approval is required before Article 50 can be triggered, which led to the Daily Mail describing them as “enemies of the people”.
Lord Judge complained that Ms Truss’ statement in support of the judiciary was “almost exactly the same” as the Prime Minister’s a few hours later.
He said: “That’s my explanation why it took her so long.
“If I am right, the Lord Chancellor asked the Prime Minister or No 10 to have some sort of input into what she said about attacks on the judiciary. And the whole point of the Lord Chancellor’s job is that he or she is there to take an independent line.”
Joining others in arguing that the role of the Lord Chancellor has been diminished, he said that judges will now ask: “Who is there to defend us? We can’t defend ourselves — and that ultimately has a damaging effect on morale and recruitment.”