Cabinet minister Sajid Javid should have been sacked by Theresa May for his criticism of the High Court ruling on Brexit, Lord Patten has said.
Patten’s comments came on Peston on Sunday, in which he sharply criticised the Communities Secretary for his public view that the court was wrong for its ruling that the UK Parliament should be consulted before Brexit.
Javid said on BBC Question Time last Thursday that the case was “an attempt to frustrate the will of the British people”.
Although Javid stressed that his comment was directed at those who had brought the case to the court and not the judges themselves, Patten said that in the John Major years, “there would have been quite a lot of us that would have been reluctant to sit around a cabinet table with him”
Patten also levelled criticism at “tabloid editors” for their censure of High Court judges in the press this week, notably the Daily Mail and its headline referring to pro-parliamentary vote judges as “enemies of the people” on Friday’s front page.
He then urged Theresa May to show “leadership” in protecting the judges and the right of courts to rule on political matters, citing examples from his own time in government.
“Theresa May…made her reputation in politics by condemning the Conservative party for looking like ‘the Nasty Party’.
“Here we are with a debate in this country which is starting to make us look mean and a bit nasty,”
“Theresa May should make it absolutely clear that she don’t like the way that tabloid editors have been pushing this debate, that we actually need to behave more decently to one another and with a great deal more respect, as a couple of bishops have been saying.
“It’s for Theresa May to give that sort of leadership.”
His comments come amidst debate between MPs on the legitimacy of the High Court’s ruling on Brexit. Jeremy Hunt’s became the first in cabinet to defend the judges and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve sharply criticised Downing Street for not doing so earlier.