New Advocate General for Scotland appointed

An advocate holding a wig
An advocate holding a wig - (Copyright PA Archive)
16:08pm, Thu 15 Oct 2020
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A new top adviser to the UK Government on Scots law has been appointed.

Keith Stewart QC has taken up the position of Advocate General for Scotland after the resignation of Lord Keen of Elie.

Mr Stewart said: “I am very pleased to be appointed as the Advocate General for Scotland. It is a great honour to be one of the UK Government’s law officers, and I very much look forward to playing a part in supporting the work of the UK Government.”

Lord Keen quit in September after in protest against plans to break international law by overriding parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in the UK Internal Market (UKIM) Bill.

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In his resignation letter, he said: “Over the past week I have found it increasingly difficult to reconcile what I consider to be my obligations as a law officer with your policy intentions with respect to the UKIM Bill.

“I have endeavoured to identify a respectable argument for the provisions at clauses 42 to 45 of the Bill but it is now clear that this will not meet your policy intentions.

“In these circumstances, I consider that it is my duty to tender my resignation from your Government.”

He added: “Your Government faces challenges on a number of fronts and I fear that the UKIM Bill in its present form will not make these any easier.

“I wish you well in dealing with these issues.”

Mr Stewart was educated at George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh and went on to gain degrees at Oxford, Edinburgh and Strathclyde universities.

He was called to the bar in 1993 and is described as having a wide range of experience in criminal trials and criminal appeals, acting for both the defence and prosecution.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “I very much welcome the appointment of Keith Stewart QC as the new Advocate General for Scotland.

“Mr Stewart is an experienced and highly-respected legal expert, and will be an excellent law officer.

“I look forward to working with him on the many important issues ahead.”

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