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Solicitor David Gauke named as new Justice Secretary

9th January 2018

David Gauke MP

Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle has seen David Gauke, the MP for South West Hertfordshire, appointed as the new Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, replacing David Lidington.

Gauke’s accession to Justice Secretary means yet another change in a post which has now been held by six different MPs in as many years. Lidington, who has been moved to a role in the Cabinet Office, only arrived at the Ministry of Justice in June last year.

Despite the rapid ministerial turnover, however, the Law Society has welcomed Gauke’s appointment, which will doubtless have been influenced by the fact that he is a qualified solicitor – the first to hold this prestigious position.

Gauke – who before the Prime Minister’s reshuffle had been Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – held a lawyer job with the City-based firm Macfarlanes from 1999 until his election as an MP in 2005.

Busy times ahead

In a statement, the president of the Law Society, Joe Egan, congratulated Gauke on his appointment and alluded to the busy in-tray which awaits the new Justice Secretary on his first day in the job: “David Gauke will be inheriting the role at a time of challenge for the legal sector”, Egan said. “Priorities include promoting access to justice, ensuring the viability of legal aid and delivering an effective court modernisation programme.”

Egan also made reference to the issue that will continue to dominate the profession - and most others - for at least the next couple of years: “In addition, the Lord Chancellor will be a prominent voice as we seek to gain the best possible deal for the UK legal sector in the government’s negotiations for a new relationship with the European Union post-Brexit”.

Gauke himself also released a statement in the wake of his appointment, noting that he was looking forward to working to “reform our prisons and courts, uphold the rule of law and promote our world-leading legal services”.

Image Credit: Chris McAndrew