UK

Liz Truss sworn in as first female lord chancellor

Liz Truss wearing official robes outside the Royal Courts of Justice Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ms Truss is the third lord chancellor in a row who is not a lawyer

Liz Truss has become the first woman to be sworn into office as lord chancellor following a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The Conservative MP was welcomed to her new appointment by leading members of the judiciary.

Ms Truss takes over the ancient role from Michael Gove, and also replaces him as justice secretary.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas called it "historic" adding that a "long-standing monopoly has been swept away".

Dressed in gold and black ceremonial dress, Ms Truss took her oath and pledged to respect the rule of law, defend judicial independence and ensure effective support for the courts.

"I am a great supporter of reform and modernisation throughout the courts and tribunals system, and that urgent task will be high on my agenda in the months ahead, as I know it is for senior members of the judiciary," she said.

She added that it was a "privilege and an honour" to be the first woman sworn into the role while Lord Thomas said it was "a step long - indeed very long - overdue".

She is the third lord chancellor in a row who is not a lawyer.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The ancient role dates back to Anglo-Saxon times
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The country's top judges including Lord John Dyson, the Master of the Rolls (l) and Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas (r) were at the proceedings

But Lord Pannick QC disputed that Ms Truss was the first woman to occupy the role, which dates back to Anglo-Saxon times.

Speaking at the House of Lords on Wednesday he claimed that Henry III's wife Queen Eleanor actually held the position back in 1253.

"I should point out that, contrary to reports, Liz Truss is not the first female lord chancellor," he said.

"Lord Campbell, in his 19th century Lives of the Lord Chancellors included Queen Eleanor, wife of Henry III. In 1253, in the king's absence abroad, Eleanor performed all the duties of the office, judicial as well as administrative, for the best part of a year," he said.

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