Robert Buckland has become the second Cabinet member to be sacked in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle.
If you can’t place the name, he used to be Justice Secretary and has been behind the plan to ensure the courts will not be able to stop Johnson’s Tory Government from breaking the law in the future.
The idea is to restrict the courts’ powers of judicial review to prevent them from examining government legislation and deciding whether it conforms with the law – or breaks it.
It would give Johnson the ability to do anything he wants – by making sure the rest of us have no legal power to stop him.
Johnson was deeply embarrassed by judicial reviews that overturned his decisions to mismanage Brexit and to prorogue Parliament, back in 2019, and it seems this is the entirely selfish motivation behind the proposed law.
MPs from every party apart from the Conservatives have pointed out that the plan is based on a lie by Johnson and his government that a panel led by Lord Faulks QC had found that courts in judicial review cases had become more prone “to edge away from a strictly supervisory jurisdiction”.
Faulks himself has contradicted this Tory lie. He said his panel did not identify any such “trend” and “was not ultimately convinced that judicial review needed radical reform”.
The plan to put the government above the law has been condemned by the Bar Council, Law Society, Constitutional and Administrative Law Association, Liberty, Justice and the Public Law Project for the same reason.
The Ministry of Justice – and therefore Buckland, as the Secretary of State, responded: “We made a manifesto commitment to ensure the judicial review process is not open to abuse or delay, or used to conduct politics by another means.” Fine words that are not borne out by the substance of the plan.
So we are losing a Justice Secretary who wanted to put injustice at the heart of Tory government decision-making. But is Johnson only replacing one such character with somebody worse?
ADDITIONAL: As I was typing this story, it was announced that Dominic Raab has been demoted from Foreign Secretary to Justice Secretary. It seems likely to This Writer that this is in order to push through the plan to put Johnson above the law more quickly.
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In case it’s deleted, this is a very relevant point made by someone in the legal profession…..
. It seems likely to This Writer that this is in order to push through the plan to put Johnson above the law more quickly.
It’s a miracle any of them can push a turd out.