Cherie Booth honoured by her peers

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Cherie Booth, the QC and wife of Tony Blair, the Labour Party leader, was last night named Legal Personality of the Year in the annual Lawyer magazine awards.

The 42-year-old employment and public law specialist broke off from election campaigning to receive the award from comedian Ronnie Corbett at a dinner at the Hilton Hotel, central London.

The predominantly legal readership of the paper was asked to specify the reasons behind their choice of personality. In Ms Booth's case, the collective view was said last night to have been her skills as a barrister and advocate, her commitment and energy and her advancement in her profession - all achieved as a working mother-of-three.

The award follows disappointment in some quarters that she was beaten last year by the former Law Society president, Martin Mears, who shot to prominence solely because of his maverick and views and constant embarrassment of the Chancery Lane establishment. But this year, Ms Booth has the satisfaction of beating nominees such as Michael Howard, the Home Secretary many lawyers love to hate.

She also pipped the (more popular) outgoing Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, and Anthony Julius, polymath and solicitor to Diana, Princess of Wales.

Patricia Wynn Davies