05:57, February 12 167 0 theguardian.com

2020-02-12 05:57:04
Geoffrey Cox signals he would accept lead role in review of judiciary

Geoffrey Cox QC, the senior cabinet minister who is expected to lose his job in Thursday’s reshuffle, has indicated that he would accept a role leading Boris Johnson’s commission to reform the judiciary.

The attorney general, the government’s most senior legal officer, has been at the centre of speculation that he could be offered the chance to run a major review into “judicial activism” to assuage for being sacked in Johnson’s first cabinet reshuffle since his election landslide.

Judges have warned that the plan, put forward by Johnson’s senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, could lead to the curtailment of the judiciary’s independence.

Sources say Cox is being targeted by Johnson because he is “not a team player”. He advised the government that it could prorogue parliament in the autumn – a decision that was overturned by the supreme court.

Speaking at an Institute for Government event on Wednesday, Cox said: “There is a perfectly legitimate question rising now of whether or not the judicialisation of politics requires amelioration and has gone too far. There is a feeling that it might have done so,” he said.

Cox did little to dampen speculation that he will be removed from office. Asked if he would be disappointed to leave his job, he said: “It has been an enormous privilege to do this job. But it is a decision for the prime minister.”

He ruled out political appointments of judges but said a commission could change how supreme court judges are appointed.

“There is a case for looking at how supreme court judges are appointed. We need to look at how precisely that is done,” he said.

Cox called for an increase in investment into the justice system. “There is no doubt that we do need to see a period of investment into the administration of justice,” he said.