Prime minister Boris Johnson has renewed his attack on so-called ‘lefty lawyers’ – this time suggesting that ‘left wing’ criminal justice lawyers act against the public interest.
In an interview with LBC’s Nick Ferrari today, Johnson was asked to respond to comments by Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer that the Conservatives had become the party of crime and disorder.
Johnson replied: ‘When you look at Labour, you see a party that voted consistently against tougher sentences for serious sexual violent offenders. The Labour opposition has consistently taken the side of, I’m afraid, left wing criminal justice lawyers against, I believe, the interests of the public.’
Today’s attack comes nearly a year after the PM told the Conservative Party Conference that the criminal justice system was being hamstrung by ‘lefty human rights lawyers’.
Several lawyers expressed fury on Twitter.
High-profile anonymous legal blogger Secret Barrister accused Johnson of ‘dog whistling about “chain gangs”. ‘I prosecute rapists while you prolong the agony of victims by cutting justice to the bone. One of us is acting against the interests of the public, Boris Johnson. It’s not me.’
Secret Barrister called on lord chancellor Robert Buckland to apologise ‘for this egregious attack on the rule of law, this outrageous assault on lawyers who independently prosecute and defend the most serious cases in the criminal courts’.
A QC said: ‘Criminal defence lawyers, of every political persuasion, act wholly in the public interest. Without them the criminal justice system could not work and the rule of law – a fundamental building block in any civilised society – would disappear. Would this be said of any other key worker?’