Pressure is growing on the prime minister to relieve justice secretary Liz Truss of her role as lord chancellor following a series of blunders, press reports say today.
According to 'senior government sources' quoted by the Daily Telegraph's senior political correspondent, the mistakes have prompted 'concerns at the very top that a major overhaul is needed'.
Truss is the third lord chancellor in a row to have no legal qualifications. The merging of the posts of justice secretary and lord chancellor was enabled by the 2005 Constitutional Reform Act, which initially proposed the outright abolition of the lord chancellor post.
The Telegraph quotes a Cabinet source as saying the justice secretary has raised eyebrows for her handling of incidents including prison staffing numbers and whether rape victims would be allowed to give evidence by video-link.
It also cites Truss's statement over the personal injury discount rate as acknowledging a conflict of interest in her role.
Today's Times newspaper meanwhile leads with news reported by the Gazette yesterday that the joint committee on statutory instruments has concluded that new probate charges to be unlawful. The newspaper describes the committee's report as 'a new blow' to Truss.
Confusion over pre-recorded video evidence in rape trials arose from an interview given by Truss to the Sunday Times, in which she said she was 'bringing forward plans for recorded cross-examination for all adult sexual offences tried in Crown courts'. The statement prompted a highly unusual public correction in a letter from the lord chief justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd. Thomas later told the House of Lords constitution committee 'I regret to say that we had to correct a serious misapprehension that had arisen as a result of what the ministry said at the end of last week about the roll-out, and the way we were proceeding with pre-recorded evidence'.
Commenting on the incident, family judge His Honour Mr Justice Peter Jackson said that the judiciary being forced to correct the Ministry of Justice on points of fact 'is not a paradigm we would wish for'.
The government has denied that any change to Truss's role is under consideration.