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This is significant, so very significant
The head of the government legal service is also, historically, the Treasury Solicitor

A grand title and position, as worthy as the Attorney General and Lord Chancellor

The late great @HenryBrooke1 wrote a detailed post on the role here…
And although Attorney General is nominally government's chief legal advisor, in effect it is the Treasury Solicitor (or TSol, as it is known in Whitehall)

TSol responsible for ensuring government operates within the law on a day to day basis, as well as dealing with litigation
TSol also responsible for having the government's back in all sorts of legal problems - and they are the reason why the government wins far more cases than it loses, and why injuries and inquests usually fail to make adverse findings

Strong, solid legal work - every day
This was an excellent @instituteforgov session with Jonathan Jones and worth revisiting in light of today's resignation

Kudos @Raphael_Hogarth and @cath_haddon
@instituteforgov @Raphael_Hogarth @cath_haddon There is a distinction for every government lawyer (as there is for every civil servant and diplomat) between doing things you do not agree with and not being able to your job at all
@instituteforgov @Raphael_Hogarth @cath_haddon Government lawyers - most of whom are lovely decent Radio 3 and 4 listening sort of people - may often disagree with policy, but by gods they will ensure it has soundest possible legal basis and will, if possible, defeat any legal challenge

Only likes of Pannick will defeat them
@instituteforgov @Raphael_Hogarth @cath_haddon (Fwiw, I was a government lawyer under TSol about fifteen or so years ago)

So, given that government lawyers are indifferent to policy merits in performance of their jobs, what would force head of the government legal service to resign?

Clue: it will not be merits of a policy
Government lawyers will place all sorts of policy onto a sound legal basis - and defend it in courts

But what they cannot (or should not) do is deal with a government that wants to disregard or subvert the law
So, a comparable example to the Jones resignation was the resignation of Elizabeth Wilmshurst in 2003…

She believed that the government was seeking to act unlawfully in its invasion of Iraq

So she resigned
A Labour government proposing to disregard law in 2003, a Tory government proposing to disregard law in 2020

2003 Wilmshurst, 2020 Jones

Does not matter the party in government - the fundamental principle of legality is the same
And this is why today's resignation is so very significant

It signifies that that there is a serious attempt within government to disregard or subvert the rule of law

And such things, as in 2003, rarely end well

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