A barrister who was widely criticised for tweeting about a ‘stroppy teenager of colour’ has been expelled by his chambers - four days after he says he resigned.
Public law set Cornerstone Barristers said in a statement that Jon Holbrook had been removed following a members vote at an extraordinary chambers meeting. The expulsion takes effect as of today, after which he will cease to be a member of chambers. Holbrook said he resigned from chambers four days ago.
The expulsion followed an investigation into tweeting from Holbrook’s personal Twitter account. Cornerstone said: ‘Members were clear that statements made on social media by Mr Holbrook were irreconcilable with membership of Cornerstone Barristers.
‘Cornerstone Barristers reiterates its repudiation of the contents of Mr Holbrook’s particularly offensive tweet on 17 January at 09.34hrs and all that it insinuated. Mr Holbrook's views have never reflected the views of these chambers. We unequivocally condemn discrimination in all its forms.’
Holbrook had posted the 17 January tweet in response to a video from the Equality and Human Rights Commission telling the story of a black girl who was sent home because her hairstyle breached its uniform policy. Holbrook said the Equality Act ‘undermines school discipline by empowering the stroppy teenager of colour’.
In a later tweet, Holbrook stated that Twitter had investigated the complained-about post and found it did not need to be removed. He added: ‘Twitter strikes a blow for free speech. (I didn’t think I’d be making that point any time soon.)’
Holbrook tweeted today: ‘The woke seek to deploy, not the jackboot of totalitarianism, but the cancel culture of intolerance. In the name of democracy they must not succeed.’
His post linked to an article published on thecritic.co.uk in which Holbrook confirmed his expulsion following 15 years with Cornerstone and 30 years at the bar. He pointed to an unblemished professional record and top ranking in legal directories, but said his tweet had ‘ended this particular career’.
He added: ‘I tweet regularly: identifying myself as a barrister, but never as a member of Cornerstone. In fact, I had two accounts, the other identified me as a member of Cornerstone and was used for professional purposes. And yet, a 13-word tweet on my political account has caused me to be expelled from my professional workplace.’