South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss has suffered a torrid week as she has been caught up in the furore around the judges’ verdict on a Brexit appeal.
The Bar Council called on Ms Truss in her dual role as Minister of Justice and Lord Chancellor to defend the appeal court judges from the ferocious onslaught of some of the national tabloid press at the ruling that Parliament should have a say on the triggering of Article 50.
Ms Truss responded by issuing a three-line statement defending the impartiality of the bench.
But she stopped short of condemning the reporting of the case, which triggered further fury – the Daily Mail labelling the judges “Enemies of the People”.
Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon, who had earlier said Ms Truss’s silence was “embarrassing”, called her statement “too little, much too late” and said she had failed to “adequately stand up to attacks on [the] judiciary”.
He said “pressure from the legal profession, professional bodies, politicians and the public has paid off” and Ms Truss had “finally made at least some progress on this issue”.
But he added: “All Liz Truss has done is recite the well-known principle of the independence of the judiciary...
“The last few days mean that much of the legal community now has no confidence in the Lord Chancellor to fulfil her statutory duty to protect the independence of the British judiciary.”