When someone heckled: ‘And Sky (Tv).’ Lord Falconer replied: ‘Yes, and Sky...And ITV...And the BBC (are against Labour).’ The Scottish peer, who is the political boss of the judiciary, was promoted to the post of Lord Chancellor by his close friend Tony Blair, with whom he shared a Wandsworth, south London, flat when they were both young lawyers. Falconer added that Labour would have to fight doubly hard to win the local council elections on May 4 because of the ‘hostility of the nationals (newspapers) who have turned against us’.
Yet, ‘if the Conservatives win, you can forget the minimum wage (for the lowest paid workers), investment in the health service, civil unions (gay marriages) and diversity (equal opportunities policies)’.
Tony Blair has suffered a pounding in the press over the 'cash (to the Labour Party) for peerages' scandal which is being investigated by the police, so serious are the corruption allegations. Falconer wrote the disputed legal advice for the Cabinet that gave Blair the green light to go to war with Iraq. He has also championed an unpopular policy to cut the public's right to jury trial which has been much criticised by civil liberties campaigners.
Like his predecessor as Lord Chancellor, Lord 'Derry' Irvine, Falconer has never been elected by voters and was promoted to the House of Lords, Britain's controversial second parliamentary chamber, soon after Labour came to power in 1997 because Mr Blair wanted him in government.
His deputy, Harriet Harman MP, the Minister for Constitutional Affairs, who introduced the Lord Chancellor at the meeting on her home turf, launched a broadside at voters. She said: ‘I love representing Camberwell and Peckham in parliament. But, if the people here don’t vote Labour on May 4, I will hate them.’ Southwark Council, her local borough, is currently run by the Lib-Dems with Conservative support and Labour are quietly confident of winning back control of the town hall they lost four years ago.