Who was the victim when Jolyon Maugham killed a fox on Boxing Day? Not only the hapless animal, it would seem. The Remain-supporting lawyer – who was recently told by the RSPCA that it would not take any action over the incident – was not too impressed by Mishal Husain's line of questioning on the Today programme. Husain rightly pointed out that although the RSPCA had decided not to pursue him in the courts, Maugham had still clubbed the animal to death.
After a painfully long pause, the QC replied:
'Um, I'm a little uncomfortable with that question because this was very much not the interview I agreed to give and I'm not really sure why you're putting that question to me.'
He went on to argue that his actions were in line with the government's guidelines on the killing of animals in distress: 'What the RSPCA concluded was that I killed that fox swiftly.' But the lawyer then informed Husain that the backlash had been difficult to deal with.
'It's enormously painful, you feel that your life is at an end,' he explained, adding, 'Nothing like this leaves you unchanged, it is absolutely fair to say. But I have always sought to be powerful with those who are powerful and sympathetic to - forgiving of - those who do not hold power.'
Asked about whether he understood the strength of the reaction, Maugham told listeners: 'I can understand, yes. I have apologised for the tone of my tweet. That tweet actually has two sentences: the first is "I have killed a fox", the second is "How has your boxing day morning [sic]?" And what I was trying to compare was the incongruity of my Boxing Day morning compared to those I speak to on social media.'
There is certainly something incongruous about the whole affair...