I do not have any particular problem with Sadiq Khan MP being promoted to the Shadow Lord Chancellor position for being a driving force behind Ed Miliband’s accession to the imperial Labour throne – but I do think, as a lawyer, and now shadowing one of the great offices of State, that he may need to brush up on his legal skills and, in particular, statutory interpretation.
MPs’ expenses: Sadiq Khan misused Commons’ envelopes (!)
The Telegraph reports, (Slavering?): “Following a formal sleaze inquiry, the Labour MP for Tooting was found to have broken the rules by using Parliamentary stationery during the general election. Under strict rules designed to prevent incumbents having an advantage over challengers from other parties, MPs may not use postage-paid Commons’ envelopes at election time. Mr Khan said that he used the stationery only to let his constituents know that he was unable to act on their behalf during the campaign. Around 500 received the letters. But he agreed to apologise to the House and repay the cost of the mail-out, £173.36, meaning he was spared a full Commons’ standards ruling. The deal – brokered by John Lyon, the Commissioner for Standards – would have remained secret had Mr Khan not made it public on his official website.
This is by no means one of the great ‘expenses revelations of all time’….. but I did like the bit where Khan stated…“The Parliamentary Commissioner reached a slightly different interpretation of the rules, which I respect.”
I’m not sure any of this Shadow Cabinet stuff actually means that much. Labour have come up with a plan in opposition (described as ‘Bonkers’ by former Lord Chancellor Jack Straw) to elect members of the Shadow Cabinet. The Great Leader is then able to chuck out the portfolios to people in this pool. Should Labour return to power, the Prime Minister doesn’t have to appoint from this elected pool. He or she may choose as they wish. Jack Straw observed, drily, that some of the new shadows appointed may be severely disappointed when it the time comes for a return to government.
I am, however, looking forward to Ed Balls giving Theresa May a hard time. Whatever one may think of Balls, he is a fairly fearless debater – so it could be amusing as well as interesting. Mr Khan may well find the old bruiser Ken Clarke QC, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, quite a handful to oppose!
Roll on Friday has word of… Second law firm suffers cyber-attack over copyright claims
After the galactic embarrassment suffered by ACS:Law last week, a second law firm has had its website attacked by irate file sharers.
London firm Gallant Macmillan plies the same greasy trade as ACS:Law – firing out countless letters demanding cash from individuals who may or may not have shared files illegally. It acts for the Ministry of Sound, and over the weekend the websites of both the firm and its client crashed after suffering distributed denial of service attacks.
However, this isn’t Gallant Macmillan’s only problem – it is also engaged in a fight with BT, which is resisting the firm’s attempt to recover details of its customers. BT has just been granted an adjournment, and a spokesman said that “the incident involving the ACS:Law data leak has further damaged people’s confidence in the current process. We’re pleased that the court has agreed to an adjournment so that our concerns can be examined“.
Things are certainly hotting up for lawyers who are in this less than pleasant game.
Patrick Wintour, political editor of the Guardian writes… “Sadiq Khan, one of Ed Miliband’s first supporters and a barrister, has been appointed shadow justice secretary. His appointment will signal a more liberal view on counter-terrorism issues.”
Guido Fawkes is less complimentary….
Migrationwatch drops Sally Bercow libel threat
The Lawyer reports: Migrationwatch has dropped its libel complaint against political commentator Sally Bercow less than a week after she instructed lawyers to defend the threatened action.
Lawyer David Allen Green, author of the Jack of kent blog – rides to the rescue and does it again. He published the correspondence on his blog.
Good effort – and not wishing to diminish the work done by Green, this case would not have caused him (I suspect) to even break into a mild sweat. It seemed to me, and many other lawyers and commentators, that the Migration Watch threats were unlikely to succeed before the court. However – people who are not specialists in the law don’t know that, so Sally Bercow was facing the very real prospect of misery and expensive litigation until David Allen Green stepped in and sorted it. There are, however, dangers in publicising legal cases on twitter. I think it was justified in the Joke Trial issue and here – but it would be unfortunate indeed if Twitter was abused by lawyers. We wouldn’t want Twitter to become a ‘court of public opinion’…I prefer litigation to be dealt with in court…assuming, of course, that we have any left after the Spending Review scheduled for 20th October.
The Supreme Court’s future …is still under review!