Obiter tuned in to the Channel 4 debate on Sunday between prospective Conservative leaders (a lectern standing in for odds-on favourite Boris Johnson).
This was a chance for Dominic Raab to assert his credentials for becoming just the UK’s second solicitor prime minister, after David Lloyd George. Raab completed a two-year training contract at magic circle firm Linklaters and is still on the roll.
Sadly, among those watching there was little drum-banging from his legal brethren – indeed, lawyers were among his keener critics.
Lawyer Ed Hayes suggested Raab was ‘every self-satisfied magic circle trainee every other lawyer has ever dealt with,’ adding that the debate was ‘basically him boasting on a Friday night in the Pitcher and Piano about the latest deal he’s done the photocopying on’. Ouch!
Douglas Lloyd said that as a barrister he occasionally met opponents like Raab in court: ‘They have incredible, intimidating levels of confidence and talk a tough game but then the case starts and you quickly realise they have no idea what they’re doing.’ Oof!
Raab was due to continue his campaign with a hustings on Monday before Conservative MPs vote to cut the shortlist to two.
If Johnson does indeed win the vote and becomes PM, don’t bet the house on him retaining David Gauke as justice secretary.
Gauke, who is backing Rory Stewart, has probably burnt his bridges with Johnson with a couple of tweets this morning, culminating with: ‘If Boris wins, good luck to whoever becomes his chancellor. It would a noble act of self-sacrifice to accept the job.’
Best start getting those Lord Chancellor investiture robes dry-cleaned. Again.