Liberal Democrat spokesperson on constitutional reform, Alistair Carmichael MP, has called for greater respect for the rule of law from the government after a High Court ruling that ministers acted unlawfully in awarding a contract to a research firm linked to Dominic Cummings, the former chief adviser to prime minister Boris Johnson. In her ruling the judge decided that a failure to consider other firms could be seen as suggesting a “real danger” of bias.
Mr Carmichael said:
“In a liberal democracy the rule of law – respect for the limits of constitutional power – is essential. This government has lost sight of the safeguards of liberal democracy – today’s ruling should be a wakeup call.
“Ministers appear to be hanging on the fig leaf defence that bias was not outright proven. That is far from the point. These rules are in place to prevent the risk of abuse of power and cronyism. A government that sees such restrictions as something to weasel out of rather than to respect is a government that is not fit for a modern liberal democracy. It is time for them to respect constitutional restraints and back down from attempts to muzzle the judiciary.”