Over two thousand legal professionals rallied at Parliament this morning as part of strike action against cuts to legal aid.
Barristers, solicitors, paralegals and other professionals crammed into Old Palace Yard to hear speaker after speaker condemn the governments attack on access to legal aid. The loudest cheers were reserved for the speeches of Janis Sharp, mother of Gary McKinnon and Paddy Hill, one of the Birmingham Six. They had both suffered at the hands of the British Criminal Justice system. Legal aid was essential in both cases in overturning miscarriages of justice.
Ian Lawrence, General Secretary of Probation Officers union NAPO brought the solidarity of his union to the protest. He urged all present to consider coordinating future strike with NAPO who are also facing huge cuts to their service.
Sadiq Khan, Shadow Lord Chancellor was listened to politely by the protesters as he attacked the cuts. However more and more voices from the crowd demanded he commit to reverse the cuts if Labour were elected. He declined to do so.
The rally then marched to the Ministry of Justice. The street echoed with the chant from hundreds of men and women in full gowns and wigs; “Grayling, Grayling, Grayling. Out! Out! Out!
Unprecedented days indeed.