Amazingly, Michael Gove is actually making sense.
Iain Duncan Smith should take notice.
Where Gove is ending a policy in order to relieve the public of the cost of expensive litigation, the Gentleman Ranker is happy to rack up those costs in support of his own, potentially fatal, schemes.
A major restructuring of the criminal legal aid system in England and Wales has been scrapped, Justice Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed.
Mr Gove said he had “decided not to go ahead” with plans to cut duty solicitor contracts at police stations and magistrates’ courts by two thirds.
He also suspended for 12 months a second 8.75% cut in legal aid fees.
Labour shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer said the government’s plans had “descended into utter chaos”.
The proposed cuts – drawn up by former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling – would have reduced the number of legal aid contracts from 1,600 to 527.
However, Mr Gove said there were “real problems” in pressing ahead with the proposals.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) currently faces 99 separate legal challenges, Mr Gove said in a written ministerial statement.
“My decision is driven in part by the recognition that the litigation will be time-consuming and costly for all parties, whatever the outcome,” he said.
“I do not want my department and the legal aid market to face months if not years of continuing uncertainty, and expensive litigation, while it is heard.”
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