From BBC News: in a reshuffle, Lord Irvine has retired, and Tony Blair has not appointed a new Lord Chancellor. Instead, he has created a new department of constitutional affairs:
The end of the post of lord chancellor – a title older than that of prime minister – brings to a close a very long chapter in British history
The office of Lord Chancellor destroyed any idea of separation of powers: he was a minister (executive), in the legislature (speaker of the House of Lords) and also in the judiciary (head of the House of Lords as a court). When sitting on the woolsack in the House of Lords, if he needed to ‘change hats’ and speak as a minister, he used to get up and walk a few steps to one side, rather like some impressionists.The BBC also has a profile of Lord Irvine, who was famous for spending £59,000 on wallpaper for his apartment in the House of Lords.