Former chancellor George Osborne has said David Cameron would never have appointed Geoffrey Cox to the position of attorney general.
London Evening Standard editor Osborne made the claim as he remarked that Cox ‘sank’ Theresa May’s premiership.
Osborne was apparently referring to the legal opinion the attorney general gave regarding the prime minister’s proposals on the Irish Brexit backstop she agreed with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday.
Cox dealt a blow to May’s hopes of getting her Brexit deal passed by the Commons when he declared on Tuesday ‘the legal risk remains unchanged’ that the UK may have ‘no internationally lawful means’ of leaving the backstop without EU agreement.
Writing in the Spectator, Osborne said: ‘The best thing about the Evening Standard going to print at lunchtime is that we can be first to a story. The worst thing is that we can get that story wrong.
‘On Monday, our splash headline about the prime minister and her Brexit deal was ‘Outnumbered. Outflanked. Out of time’. I thought we’d called it right.
‘On Tuesday, I woke up to the headlines ‘May claims victory’ and wondered.
‘Then Geoffrey Cox spoke and sank her premiership.
‘Later that day he told the Commons it was highly unlikely David Cameron would ever have made him his attorney general.
‘Geoffrey, you’re right.’
May’s Brexit deal was rejected by a 149-vote majority in the Commons.