Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

JUDGE CHERIE 'MUST RESIGN OVER DIARIES'; Accused: Cherie Blair, a QC and Recorder, Makes Indiscreet Revelations in Her Autobiography Sacking Call: Gerald Butler Has Criticised Mrs Blair

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

JUDGE CHERIE 'MUST RESIGN OVER DIARIES'; Accused: Cherie Blair, a QC and Recorder, Makes Indiscreet Revelations in Her Autobiography Sacking Call: Gerald Butler Has Criticised Mrs Blair

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT MENDICK

CHERIE BLAIR should be sacked from the judiciary over her memoirs, aformer senior judge said today.

Mrs Blair is accused of bringing the legal profession into disrepute with herrevealing autobiography.

The book, Speaking For Myself, contains intimate details of life at No 10 andindiscreet revelations about individuals including the Queen and Bill Clinton.

She is a QC and a recordera barrister appointed to serve as a part-time judge. It is almost unheard offor any judge even a recorder to write their memoirs before retiring.

In an interview today after the Evening Standard's report was published, sherefused to resign, adding: "The law is an important part of my life." AStandard investigation shows the [pounds sterling]1 million she is reported to have receivedfor her memoirs far exceeds her earnings as a publicly funded barrister.

In the 12 months to April last year she earned less than [pounds sterling]70,000 as a legal aidQC and a judge.

Gerald Butler QC, who was senior justice at Southwark crown court for 13 years,said: "What she has done is not appropriate for somebody who sits as arecorder. I don't think she should continue to sit as a recorder.

"If she wants to tread this path of making money by outrageous comments that isup to her, but I don't think this is a job for a judge. It shows a completelack of any kind of decency. It is the kind of conduct which demeans the legalprofession. It is altogether disgraceful but nothing less than I would expectfrom her. I would have thought there is no chance of her becoming a seniorjudge." Mr Butler, 77, presided over Southwark crown court from 1984 to 1997.He remains one of the most respected legal figures. John Cooper, a seniorcriminal barrister who sits on the Bar Council, would not comment on MrsBlair's case, but said: "One of the important factors in being a judge is beingable to exercise judgment, and part of that judgment is being trusted withconfidential material. "One has to be very careful, in my view, in what oneexposes to the public gaze. I know of no High Court judge who has written theirmemoirs before they have retired." Judges can be removed by the Lord ChiefJustice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, if their conduct is seen to beputting the reputation of the judiciary at risk. Mrs Blair has been accused ofexploiting the suicide of weapons scientist Dr David Kelly in her book. Inanother excerpt she says her youngest son was conceived because she was tooembarrassed to take contraception to Balmoral. On Radio 4's Woman's Hour thismorning, Mrs Blair was asked if she was going to resign. She said: "I certainlywon't. The law is very much an important part of my life.

I enjoy the law and intend to continue to practise. …

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