LONDON — One of the judges who oversaw the historic Article 50 court case has launched an extraordinary attack on justice secretary Liz Truss for failing to defend the judiciary in the face of hostile media coverage.
The lord chief justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, who sat in the High Court to hear Gina Miller’s legal challenge before it reached the Supreme Court, told a House of Lords Committee on Wednesday that Truss was “completely and utterly wrong” to argue that she could not criticise the media.
The Daily Mail published pictures of the three High Court judges on its front page following the verdict that Theresa May must secure parliamentary approval before triggering Article 50, with the headline “enemies of the people”.
Fellow pro-Brexit newspaper The Express published a story on the same day claiming that the legal ruling was as “grave” as when Britain was at war with Nazi Germany.
Lord Thomas told the Lords committee that it was the duty of Truss as lord chancellor to defend the judges from media attacks. Truss argued that her respect for free press meant that she couldn’t criticise them.
Truss was “completely and utterly wrong,” in her claim, Lord Thomas said.
There’s a difference between criticism and abuse… and I don’t think that’s understood,” he added.
The High Court ruling was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court earlier this year, meaning that Prime Minister May had to pass an act of parliament before having the authority to trigger Britain’s formal exit from the European Union.
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