The ministerial line-up at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has been completed with the appointment of a solicitor and non-lawyer as parliamentary under-secretaries.
Jonathan Djanogly, until last year a partner of City law firm SJ Berwin, has been joined by one-time soldier Crispin Blunt as the MoJ’s junior ministers.
Until relatively recently, only lawyers were appointed to what is now the MoJ, but now they are usually in the minority. Lord Chancellor Ken Clarke, who was a criminal QC, and Mr Djanogly is the only lawyers.
Before the election Mr Djanogly was shadow solicitor general and was also a shadow minister for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, where he focused on corporate governance and business regulations. Mr Blunt was shadow minister for home affairs and counter-terrorism.
Lib Dem peer Lord McNally and former shadow justice secretary Nick Herbert had already been appointed as the mid-ranking ministers of state at the MoJ (see blog). Mr Herbert has been appointed police minister and is being shared with the Home Office; the details of each minister’s brief has not yet been published, meaning it is not clear whether Mr Herbert’s police role extends to his work at the MoJ, where it may not sit comfortably.
Henry Bellingham, who led much of the Tories’ pre-election work on legal profession issues such as the Jackson review, referral fees and Legal Services Act, has been appointed a junior minister at the Foreign Office. It is unknown at this moment what this means for some of his more controversial ideas, such as establishing a conditional legal aid fund and consolidating all client accounts in one bank so that the interest gained from having them together could help fund legal aid (see story). Mr Bellingham had told Legal Futures that a new Tory government would look to consult quickly on the client account plan.