Liz Truss has completed her first oral questions session in the role of lord chancellor, fielding questions about the Human Rights Act and diversity in the legal profession while giving little away.
Truss (pictured) confirmed that the government is still committed to scrapping the Human Rights Act and implementing a British Bill of Rights, though she would not be drawn on what rights the new bill would include or omit.
The bill would be one that 'enshrines our ancient liberties', Truss said in reply to her Labour shadow Richard Burgon.
The plans would be implemented 'in due course’ – a phrase used several times during the session.
On diversity in the legal profession, Truss said she was committed to ensuring that figures, which currently show that a third of those practising at the bar are women, are improved.
She added that she would also be discussing the current fee levels for legal training and that greater diversity was something that leading judges wanted to see.
A review on changes to employment tribunal fees will also be published, said Truss, though she again declined to give a firm time frame.
Truss reiterated that she was committed to prison reform, for example by offering apprenticeships to inmates and recognising that the problems with the prison service stretch from the management downwards.
'Our prisons are out-of-date and not fit for purpose,' she said, reflecting the agenda announced by her predecessor Michael Gove. 'We want new modern prisons built where prisoners get help they need.'
She added that 49% of prisoners experience anxiety or depression and that fewer than half of all people entering prison have basic levels of English and maths.