View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Media Law
March 1, 2017

Enemies of the people: Lord Chancellor Liz Truss says it would be dangerous to tell Daily Mail what to print

By PA Media Lawyer

It would be “dangerous” for ministers to tell the press what is acceptable to print, Lord Chancellor Liz Truss said today.

Truss (pictured), who is also Justice Secretary, was responding to concerns that judges in the High Court case ruling on who had the final say on triggering Article 50 and the UK’s exit from the European Union had suffered “abuse” at the hands of the media.

Asked at a meeting of the House of Lords Constitution Committee about a Daily Mail headline which branded the judges involved in the decision as “enemies of the people”, Truss said: “Where, perhaps, I might disagree, respectfully, with some who have asked me to condemn what the press are writing.

“I think it is dangerous for a Government minister to say ‘this is an acceptable headline and this isn’t an acceptable headline’ because I am a huge believer in the independence of the judiciary, I am also a very strong believer in the free press.

“I believe, in terms of defending the judiciary, it’s very important I speak out about the valuable work they do.

“But I do draw the line at saying I should be saying what is acceptable for the press to print or not. That for me goes too far.

“I will always speak out and say how important having an independent judiciary is.

Content from our partners
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it
Impress: Regulation, arbitration and complaints resolution
Papermule: Workflow automation for publishers

“And I have also said, on the individuals involved in both cases, the High Court and the Supreme Court, that these are people of integrity, and impartiality.”

The comments came after Supreme Court president Lord Neuberger complained some of the reporting of the Article 50 case risked undermining the rule of law.

Lord Neuberger also claimed politicians could have been “quicker and clearer” in defending the judiciary after the High Court ruling that Prime Minister Theresa May did not have the power to start the Brexit process without the consent of Parliament.

At a debate hosted by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism last night, former Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans said of the Mail’s headline: “I thought it was disgraceful. It was pure Trumpery.”

IPSO chairman Sir Alan Moses, a former appeal court judge, added: “Anyone who read the judgement wouldn’t have called [the judges] anything other than servants of the people.”

Picture: Reuters/Peter Nicholls

Topics in this article : , ,

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network