Lord Dyson urged the country to guard against the ‘xenophobia and dangerous forces of hate’ unleashed in the wake of the EU referendum.
In his valedictory speech as he stood down as Master of the Rolls, he expressed ‘deep gratitude’ to ‘this tolerant country’ for allowing his forbears to settle here and for giving him and his family the opportunity to flourish.
‘I fervently hope that the events of recent weeks have not put that tolerance at risk,’ he said. ‘I have great faith in the fair-mindedness of the British people and believe that their tolerance will continue to shine through.’
His Jewish parents were migrants from Lithuania and Bulgaria and his maternal grandmother spent six months in the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen Belsen.
‘I keenly regret that my parents are not here today. Even at my age, I would have liked to bring them my achievements for their approval,’ he said.
Dyson expressed the importance of maintaining the rule of law, particularly as ‘the executive arrogates to itself more and more powers’.
He thanked his private secretary, Peter Farr, and judicial colleagues, but reserved his greatest thanks for his wife, Jackie, whom he called ‘my rock of support and my life mate’.
‘I do not intend to retire to cultivate my garden. I plan to be quite busy. But I do hope to be able to spend more time with her,’ he said.