Boris Johnson Backs Patel’s “Lefty Lawyers” Remarks
The Prime Minister’s echoing of the Home Secretary’s controversial comments have drawn further backlash from legal professionals.
In his keynote speech during Tuesday’s Conservative Party conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused “lefty human rights lawyers” of hampering the criminal justice process.
While repeating a pledge to put a further 20,000 police officers on the streets, he added: “We are also backing those police, and protecting the public, by changing the law to stop the early release of serious sexual and violent offenders, and stopping the whole criminal justice system from being hamstrung by what the Home Secretary would doubtless and rightly call the lefty human rights lawyers and other do-gooders.”
Several legal organisations have this week condemned remarks by Home Secretary Priti Patel linking immigration lawyers with human traffickers during a speech to the Conservative Party conference on Sunday. “Those defending the broken system – the traffickers, the do-gooders, the lefty lawyers, the Labour Party – they are defending the indefensible,” she said.
Johnson’s reiteration of Patel’s attacks quickly drew condemnation from those same legal organisations.
“This divisive language serves nobody and puts lawyers and their clients at risk,” said Law Society president Simon Davis. “All solicitors advise their clients on their rights under the laws created by parliament. Legal rights cannot be rewritten through rhetoric.”
Bar Council chair Amanda Pinto QC commented: “It is shocking and troubling that our own Prime Minister condones and extends attempts to politicise and attack lawyers for simply doing their job in the public interest.”
“Lawyers — including those employed by the government itself — are absolutely vital to the running of our grossly under-funded criminal justice system. Their professional duty is to their client and to the court, and not to play political games,” she continued, noting that Johnson escalated Patel’s comments by suggesting that human rights lawyers are actively damaging the justice system.