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Tweeting Attorney General accuses Channel 4’s Jon Snow of talking ‘bollocks’ as Brexit pressure mounts

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Hardly courtroom language

? Geoffrey Cox and Jon Snow (credit: Chatham House)

The government’s top legal adviser, Geoffrey Cox QC, took to social media to display his renowned forensic and oratorical skills today, tweeting the word “bollocks” at one of the country’s best-known journalists.

Cox, the Attorney General whose legal advice on the government’s under-fire Brexit deal is seen as critical to its chances of success, was responding to Channel 4 anchor Jon Snow on the social media platform.

With speculation mounting about what Cox would say in revised Brexit legal advice due this morning, Snow tweeted: “A Lawyer contact tells me that the legal world is aware that the Attorney General said NO last night to the validity of Mrs May’s ‘new EU deal’…he been told to go away and find a way to say YES: A cohort of lawyers has been summoned”.

Rather than resort to the usual retort of “you know nothing Jon Snow”, Cox opted for a more direct form of rebuttal, replying simply “Bollocks”.

A high-earning silk who was appointed Attorney General last year, Cox has been increasingly prominent as an articulate supporter of the Brexit deal. But he left Brexit-watchers dumbfounded last week when he made a bizarre reference to “Cox’s codpiece” in a parliamentary debate.

Social media users have also scoffed at Cox’s struggles with Twitter. On 4 March, the 58-year-old concluded a tweet with “Get Outlook for iOS”, seemingly copy and pasting the offending phrase from an email.

The Attorney General’s revised legal advice on yesterday’s last-ditch tweaks to the Brexit deal was eagerly awaited, with Brexit supporters relying on it to judge whether or to vote with the government in a crunch vote tonight. A legal opinion rushed out overnight by three top barristers had said that “it is crystal clear that the measures do not alter the fundamental legal effect of the backstop”.

Cox published his own formal advice just hours after the “bollocks” incident, writing that “the legal risk remains unchanged”.

With Labour still opposed to the government’s deal and Conservative and Democratic Unionist MPs not won over by last night’s events, the government is expected to lose another House of Commons vote on the deal tonight. We can guess what Geoffrey Cox’s reaction will be.

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