Discover more from A Lawyer Writes
Who will replace Raab?
Four names now in the frame
Two more names have been added to the list of ministers on the Downing Street shortlist to succeed Dominic Raab if he is forced to resign as justice secretary and lord chancellor on publication of a report into bullying allegations.
At the weekend, Tim Shipman in the Sunday Times tipped Lucy Frazer KC, the culture secretary, and Victoria Atkins, a treasury minister and former practising barrister. In The Times today, Lara Spirit says that Victoria Prentis KC, the attorney general, and Alex Chalk KC, a former solicitor general who is now a defence minister, are also in the running.
A government source is quoted as saying that Rishi Sunak is most likely to appoint a woman to redress the gender imbalance in cabinet. But although Frazer is the most senior of the four MPs — and the only one to have been made KC on merit — she is already a member of the cabinet and has been in her present post for little more than two months.
I have interviewed all four of them at various times and I am sure that each would do the job well. Whoever gets the job will have to decide what to do with the Victims and Prisoners Bill that Raab published just before Easter, much of which could usefully be jettisoned. The new justice secretary will also find that Raab has been delaying a large number of public appointments for no apparent reason.
The easiest task for the new lord chancellor will be to improve the government’s day-to-day working relationship with the senior judiciary. Nobody could make it any worse.
Update 20 April: In the light of developments, I have deleted “next week” from the opening paragraph of this story as originally published.
Update 21 April: It’s Chalk.
A Lawyer Writes is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.