Straw attacks lawyers over Criminal Justice bill

Straw will also lay into the hypocrisy of "Hampstead liberals" who want to keep the right to trial by jury and yet urge him to bend legal rules when they disapprove of the defendant, such as in the case of suspected Nazi war criminals.

In a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research, Straw will argue that lawyers always resist change and claim that his planned reforms of the criminal justice are modest when compared to those of Labour predecessor, Roy Jenkins.

"There is a disdain for Hampstead liberalism, because there is hypocrisy at its core. Part of what I am doing in this speech is to show that there is great inconsistency – as there has been in the last week."

Today a number of legal and campaigning groups such as the Law Society, the Bar Council, Liberty and the Institute of Race Relations signed a joint statement calling on the Government to "think again" on the Criminal Justice (Mode of Trial) bill and the Race Relations (Amendment) bill.

The bodies claim that both bills run counter to the recommendations of the MacPherson report and fail to counter the problems faced by ethnic minorities in the criminal justice system