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Rene Kinzett

Ken Clarke gets dressed up for top job

May 14th, 2010 by René Kinzett

The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain

The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP was today sworn in as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain and boy did he look smart! Of course, Ken is more widely known for the somewhat casual nature of his atire, not being one to follow the sartorial rules of most politicians. But for one day, at least, the brown suede shoes, the pale blue/grey suit and distinctly NOT this season’s shirt and tie combo were ditched in favour of the robes of the second highest Office of State (the first being Lord High Steward…look it up if at all interested!).

The ceremony for all its pomp and circumstance (as much as I love all that!) is only really important in that we now have someone of huge stature and independence as our Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. A previous holder of the position of Lord Chancellor, Charlie Falconer, was generous and sincere in his tribute to Ken’s appointment when he stated that judges and lawyers across the land would be very happy indeed to see Ken in this vitally important job.

The previous Labour administration tinkered with the position of Lord Chancellor but failed to entirely abolish the title, sitting as it does in the centre of the venn diagram of the British Constitution – made up of the Monarchy (HM Government), the Legislature and the Judiciary. To abolish the office of Lord Chancellor would require a huge amount of unpicking and legislative changes that a Parliament could spend the next 5 years in that single task!

Facing Ken Clarke will be the job of running our over-crowded prisons, protecting the public from offenders, improving services for victims and witnesses of crime, continuing the modernisation of our judiciary, reforming the provision of legal services to consumers and helping the relatively new Supreme Court become more familiar to the public.

That is before we even consider new policy initiatives such as the referendum on changing the voting system or any abolition or reform of the Human Rights Act, legislation surrounding the restoration of many of the civil liberties eroded by Labour, a Bill to enshrine Fixed Term Parliaments, the creation of a wholly elected Upper House and the introduction of voter recall of Members of Parliament. Phew!

Well I am happy that such a huge job has fallen on the shoulders of one of the great Statesmen and born-survivor of post-war British politics. Good luck, Ken!

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