Thornton gets all clear from Mackay

The furore surrounding Judge Anthony Thornton QC looked set to rumble on this week despite Lord Mackay giving him the all clear to resume judicial duties.

Lord Mackay backed Thornton last week after meeting him to discuss newspaper allegations about his personal life.

The Lord Chancellor accepted the judge's denial that he had smoked illegal drugs. He also believed Thornton did not know that a woman he met had a criminal record.

Last week, the News of the World was said to be preparing further articles about Thornton, a former chair of the Bar's professional standards committee.

Nigel Tait, the partner handling inquiries for the judge with Peter Carter-Ruck, was unavailable for comment.

But a statement by the Lord Chancellor said: “I am naturally concerned at the allegations which appeared in the newspapers.”

However, he said the judge had never taken drugs and “did not know that the women involved in the incident had criminal records”.