Thursday, February 01, 2007
Attorney General's Role Long Overdue for Reform
Iraq War:Lord Lester accuses the government of making nonsense of established procedures over the decision to go to war in Iraq, more particularly the fact that the Attorney's written advice was not made available to either the Cabinet or the legislature. He adds that Goldsmith had changed his mind over legality and offered advice contrary to the deputy legal adviser to the Foreign Office, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who thereupon, to her credit, resigned.
BAE Systems: Lester argues that Goldsmith's halting of the criminal investigation into alleged BAE corruption, 'shows how fragile and inadequate are our present constitutional arrangements for protecting the rule of law.' The well authenticated article by veteran investigative hacks David Leigh and Rob Evans in today's Guardian, suggests Goldsmith only changed his mind after pressure from Downing St. The rule of law has little chance if its implementation is being constantly influenced by the political whims of the prime minister.
Suez:Lester draws the parallel with Suez when Eden and his Cabinet, knowing they were acting illegally, were able to bypass the law officers: 'That episode provides another illustration of the need for reform today.' Lester approves of Charlie Falconer's indication that the AG's role needs to be changed and the reinforcing indications that Gordon Brown will enter office is considering 'radical reform so as to restore public trust.' No prizes for identifying who squandered that trust: the prime minister and his law officer poodle.
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