Lord Woolf is poised to step down as Lord Chief Justice four years early because he is tired of being bullied by ministers, it was reported last night.

Friends said that England's most senior judge had grown weary of being the target of repeated attacks by David Blunkett
Lord Ackner of Sutton, a retired Law Lord and friend of Lord Woolf, said that he had become infuriated by the Home Secretary's "megaphone politics". He said Lord Woolf, 71, was preparing to step down from his £205,000-a-year job four years before the statutory retirement age.

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