ONCE described as “an anarchist in a barrister’s wig” by Loaded magazine and “the most dangerous woman in Britain” by the Sun, Shami Chakrabarti has never been afraid of speaking her mind.
Some may have assumed that, having left her position as director of civil rights advocacy group Liberty in 2016, opportunities to do so might have died down. However, Baroness Chakrabarti’s public persona as a measured, articulate and outspoken human rights activist, means she will never be short of requests from the media to discuss such matters.
Her political opponents have a vested interest in portraying her as a firebrand and as an ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, she is an easy target for the livelier and more partisan parts of the national media.
The difference is now as a member of the House of Lords and the Labour party’s shadow attorney general, is that Baroness Chakrabarti is more of a political creature and less bound (but not completely) by legal niceties.
In May, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she was asked to comment on the expulsion from the Labour party of Alistair Campbell (Tony Blair’s former communications chief) for admitting that he voted Liberal Democrat in the European Parliament elections. Reassuring other Labour members who, frustrated by the party’s equivocation over Brexit, may have voted the same way, she urged them to “come forward and talk about their future intentions”.
“Political parties have rules about people who support other parties, but I hope this case will be reviewed,” she later added. Earlier in the year, amid continuing disquiet over claims of anti-Semitism within the Labour party, Baroness Chakrabarti, who chaired an inquiry into the matter in 2016, reached out to the Jewish Labour Movement.
“My plea to the Jewish Labour Movement is to stay in