All change at the Ministry of Justice under new PM

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15 July 2016

Truss: first female Lord Chancellor

Truss: first female Lord Chancellor

It is all change at the Ministry of Justice yesterday after accountant Liz Truss was named as the first woman Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, and it appeared that civil justice minister Lord Faulks was stepping down from his role.

Ms Truss was moved from her post as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to replace Michael Gove, who returned to the backbenches.

The MP for South West Norfolk since her election in 2010, she has no legal background and there is scant evidence of her showing interest in legal issues to date.

Brought up in Yorkshire and educated at a comprehensive, Ms Truss read philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University, where she was a Liberal Democrat before joining the Conservative Party.

She worked in the energy and telecommunications industry for a decade as a commercial manager and economics director, and is a qualified management accountant.

Prior to entering Parliament at her third attempt, she was deputy director at the think-tank Reform.

She founded the Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs, which campaigns for economic reform and a positive attitude to profit-making enterprise.

With non-Cabinet ministerial changes to be the next element of the reshuffle, the BBC reported yesterday that Lord Faulks had indicated during a debate in the House of Lords that he was stepping down.

The barrister was in charge of civil justice – with the planned personal injury reforms a high-profile matter in his in-tray – and had also recently assumed responsibility for legal services regulation from Shailesh Vara.

This meant he last week announced publication of proposed changes to the Legal Services Act 2007 so as to make it easier for new entrants to become alternative business structures, while the consultation on separating the legal regulators from representative bodies was also awaited.

In a further ministerial change potentially affecting legal policy, Ben Gummer – who as a health minister was driving the introduction of fixed fees for clinical negligence cases – was moved to the Cabinet Office.

The Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, is staying in his post.

The reshuffle has seen two former City solicitors enter the cabinet – James Brokenshire and David Gauke as Northern Ireland secretary and Chief Secretary to the Treasury respectively – and one leave, former education secretary Nicky Morgan.

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