Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Clarke takes over at the MoJ
It has just been announced that Kenneth Clarke will become the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice in David Cameron's cabinet.
He was called to the Bar in 1963 and is likely to be the most experienced member of Cameron's first cabinet, having held ministerial positions in every government over the 18 years of the Thatcher and Major eras. As a former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, he will probably be disappointed not to have been offered one of the major economic portfolios. But the alliance with the Liberal Democrats has meant that many Conservatives with shadow portfolios have been bumped out of positions they might have hoped for in cabinet.
The new Lord Chancellor is famously fond of jazz, cigars and the odd pint of beer. His pro-European views led to him losing the Tory leadership when he contested it in 1997, 2001 and 2005. It will be interesting to see whether his appointment indicates a shift in Tory policy on criminal justice to the more progressive stance of their Liberal Democrat coalition partners, who stated in their election manifesto that they wanted to reduce prison numbers. Both Labour and the Conservatives pledged to expand prison places.
Ministers below cabinet level and the law officers should be announced over the next 24 hours and the LAG news blog will report on these as soon as we have details.
Photograph: Legal Action Group