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How long the smiles

The new lord chancellor may have pledged his support for the rule of law but funding for the justice system will be a prerequisite for senior judges to give him lasting support

27 June 2017

In 50 years, that photo will be in all constitutional history books. Lord Thomas and Sir Terence Etherton, all smiles, are flanking a man who, a few moments later, will pledge his ‘unflinching’ support to the rule of law and an independent judiciary.

On 19 June, Aylesbury MP David Lidington delivered his swearing-in speech and skilfully covered over the yawning cracks his predecessor opened in the relationship between judges and government.

Liz Truss was already on the way out when, a few days earlier, the Lord Chief Justice gave this year’s Michael Ryle memorial lecture. Although the setting for the event was an intimate room in Westminster, the speech was a public declaration for the widest possible consumption.

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