Gus Carter Gus Carter

Geoffrey Cox hedges his bets on the eve of the reshuffle

A good barrister will always keep his options open. And the Attorney General, Sir Geoffrey Cox, has the letters Q and C at the end of his name, so he must be a good barrister.

During an event this morning Cox laid out the case both for his continuation as Attorney General, while also hyping himself up as a potential chair of the government’s upcoming constitutional review. He told the crowd:

Have I had enough of the job [of AG]? let me make plain, absolutely not. This has been one of the greatest – in fact, thegreatest – honour of my political life… If you gave me the opportunity to continue, I would embrace it eagerly. But equally, if it is not to be, well then there are other doorways that will open for me.

Cox has widely been seen as vulnerable after the government suffered a number of high-profile defeats on the basis of his legal advice. At one point he even joked, ‘I have been expecting to leave this office every month I have been in it’. But he has also been seen by some as a potential head of the government’s constitutional review.

Out in the country, there is a concern about whether or not democratically accountable decisions, that ought to be taken by democratically accountable politicians, are in fact being taken by those who are not elected.

Cox seems to have grasped this dilemma, lamenting the lack of high-ranking lawyers in parliament who would be able to take on the role of Attorney General:

One of the problems that we have at the moment is that our political life is not, as it once used to, attracting senior professionals from the legal profession….I do think that those of us who are senior at the bar ought to consider whether or not, in the spirit of public service, politics is a sphere that they should go into.

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