Where lords fear to tread

first_imgThe House of Lords debate on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill has featured a procession of eminent lawyers honing their advocacy skills. All of which has made it a formidable place for those without a legal background. Some noble lords have been at pains to find suitably parliamentary language in which to apologise for any shortcomings. Speaking during the debate, Lord Newton of Braintree feared that, as a non-lawyer, he was ‘trespassing with great trepidation into this lawyers’ paradise territory’, while justice minister Lord McNally admitted he had a ‘feeling of foreboding’ whenever he was confronted with the former lord chancellor Lord Mackay (pictured). In a splendid putdown, his Labour counterpart Lord Bach said that McNally had ‘played the role of a non-lawyer with immense skill during the debate’. But not everyone fears to tread on legal toes. Over in the Commons, speaker John Bercow declared in advance of justice questions that ‘I am not a lawyer, and I say that as a matter of some very considerable pride’.last_img

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