Justice Secretary Liz Truss 'on borrowed time' as rivals eye post-election reshuffle

Ben Riley-Smith
Liz Truss has clashed repeatedly with judges while Britain's prison crisis is also worsening - Paul Grover

The race to replace Liz Truss as Justice Secretary is already under way as allies of potential candidates anticipate a post-election reshuffle. 

Tory MPs have said that Ms Truss, who has repeatedly clashed with the judiciary, is “on borrowed time” and are discussing the merits of her possible replacements. 

Sir Oliver Heald, the justice minister, is seen as well placed given he has the trust of the judiciary after more than two decades of experience as a barrister and QC. 

Others seen as front-runners are Jeremy Wright, the Attorney General, and Dominic Grieve, chairman of the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee. 

Ms Truss has been involved in a series of damaging public rows with senior judges who questioned her suitability for the role of Lord Chancellor, the head of the judiciary. 

She has also been criticised over rising violence in Britain’s prisons and increasing probate fees on estates since taking over the Justice Department last July. 

A senior Tory told The Telegraph: “The general mood is that I don’t think people would be surprised if she went. She is on borrowed time.

Truss has clashed with judges during her dual role as Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Credit: Eddie Mulholland

“There have been too many clashes with the judiciary. There is a sense she hasn’t got the weight and punch that you would expect in that job.” 

“She is a perfectly competent minister but in this particular role you need more than that.”

Concerns are being raised about the suitability of Mr Wright, the Government’s most senior legal adviser, given his record as prisons minister under David Cameron. 

The number of prison guards was slashed when he held the role while a clampdown on sending books to prisons – which triggered a damaging public row – also happened under his watch. 

Sir Oliver, who was solicitor general , is seen by MPs as an “experienced barrister” who “knows the legal system through and through” and can heal the rift that has emerged under Ms Truss. 

He has been an MP since 1992 and held a series of front bench roles for the Conservatives under numerous party leaders. 

Mr Grieve, a former attorney general, is also being talked up but is believed to have clashed with Mrs May during her time at the Home Office. 

Allies of Ms Truss dismissed the speculation, saying no one should “put their money” on her being moved after the snap election. 

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