The Lib-Dem peer says coalition cuts were necessary but have gone too far – people must be able to access justice

Tom McNally believes a cross-party consensus needs to be built to establish a broadly acceptable level of legal aid. He also supports renationalisation of the probation service and fears that the Conservatives are plotting a fresh assault on the Human Rights Act.

A Liberal Democrat peer, ex-justice minister in the coalition government and one-time deputy leader of the House of Lords, his experience at the highest levels of government stretches back more than 40 years. But it has been cuts to legal aid – imposed by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government – and law reform that have preoccupied his recent years at Westminster. It is a legacy about which he harbours some regrets while remaining refreshingly forthright. His views may well be tested again when the government publishes its long-awaited review on the impact of legal aid cuts.

Related: Labour helped these devastating legal aid cuts along. Now it’s time to fix it | Charles Falconer

Related: Strain of legal aid cuts shows in family, housing and immigration courts

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