Friday, April 27, 2007

The Goldsmith Factor

(Getty Images)

It's a fair comment, if politically biased in some quarters. The Attorney General is, in theory, answerable first and foremost to HM The Queen, not the Prime Minister, and it is one of those constitutional anomalies we have in this country which allows situations like this to develop. However, to call for Goldsmith to stand aside is, as some Labour critics know, pointless. Any successor of his would be appointed by the PM and therefore up for the same criticism. The Conservatives know this and are just using the position of the Attorney General as an exercise in kicking the government in the unmentionables during an election campaign.

If they, and others, were serious about the whole matter, then an all-Party review into the role of Attorney General would take place and whether it should be a Party-political post or one elected by members of the House of Commons. It's not as if the government isn't open to this. After one of Derry Irvine's regular exercises in arrogance and stupidity (a man who wasn't actually popular with many Labour MP's and activists), Labour did much to try and split the Office of Lord Chancellor and aviod acusations of bias.

But no, an All-Party group looking into the Office of Attorney General won't happen. The Conservatives like to continue their kicking, thus putting electoral expediency before decency.

4 comments:

Praguetory said...

Someone appointed to act as a substitute would be less conflicted than Goldsmith. He was appointed as a Lord, is a Labour donor and sits in the Cabinet.

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/seentobedone/

This petition has been up for less than 48 hours and seems quite popular

Paul Burgin said...

Appointed by whom though! Because by my reckoning, anyone appointed would be accused of bias because he or she would be seen as being appointed by the PM!

Praguetory said...

In principle, it should be the person who would take Goldsmith's job if he was run over by a bus. That person should not be a party member or donor and not in the Cabinet. I think this would be a significant improvement.

Paul Burgin said...

But no Prime Minister would appoint someone from another Party (It would have to be an MP or Peer) and any appointment would lead to newspapers like the Daily Mail shouting "Cronyism!" in this current climate, far better that the post is put under review with a mind to it being elected by MP's.
In any case we will have a new Prime Minister in a few weeks and we will see what happens then!