Mail columnist berates ‘gold-plated pooh-bahs of europhiliac judiciary’.
Lord chancellor Liz Truss shrewdly pre-empted any reprise of the Mail’s notorious ‘Enemies of the people’ broadside with a statement defending judicial independence that landed minutes after Lord Neuberger got to his feet. But early press reaction suggests she need not have bothered. The dailies Mail and Express reacted to this morning’s ruling as one might expect.
But with Jeremy Corbyn indicating that there will be a three-line whip on the issue forcing Labour MPs to vote with the government, their outrage is - if hardly muted - then certainly resigned.
Mail columnist Quentin Letts did his own bit of pre-empting with a sulphurous piece in today’s paper berating ‘those gold-plated pooh-bahs of the europhiliac judiciary’. But the paper’s online report of the decision, headed ‘Yet again the elite show their contempt for Brexit voters!’ – initially ranked below a shaggy dog story (literally). The Brexit judgment has since been pushed to the top of the home page and now includes the aside that ‘an extraordinary victory in the High Court caused explosive political rows about the role of judges intervening on the will of the people’.
That those rows were largely stoked by the Mail goes unsaid, however.
The media circus is already packing its tent and hitching up its caravans, it seems. As attorney general Jeremy Wright says this morning (with an almost audible sigh of relief?) ‘Brexit is now a political matter and not a legal matter’.
The media circus is already packing its tent and hitching up its caravans, it seems
The Express goes with the ominous headline ‘Supreme Court thwarts will of 17m Britons!’ (sic), but its heart doesn’t seem to be in it. Political reporter Greg Heffer’s report underneath is scrupulously sober and factual. Perhaps others are sharpening their pens back at the office, but given the result was widely expected one would have imagined the opinion columns were written and posted already.
And The Sun? Again, it seems, it’s time to move on. Murdoch’s flagship carries a package of articles but initial headlines laid off the judiciary. The principal message to PM Theresa May was a blunt: ‘Just get on with it!’
Paul Rogerson is Gazette editor-in-chief