Geoffrey Cox (British politician)

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Geoffrey Cox
Geoffrey cox wiki portrait.jpg
Geoffrey Cox QC MP
Member of Parliament
for Torridge and West Devon
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by John Burnett
Majority 18,403 (32.5%)
Personal details
Born (1960-04-30) 30 April 1960 (age 55)
Wroughton, Wiltshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Jeanie Cox
Alma mater Downing College, Cambridge

Charles Geoffrey Cox,[1] QC, MP (born 30 April 1960) is an English barrister who, as a Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP), has been representing the constituency of Torridge and West Devon since 2005.

Early life[edit]

Born in the Wiltshire village of Wroughton, Cox was educated at King's College, Taunton, and Downing College, Cambridge, where he read Law and Classics.

Legal career[edit]

Called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1982, he started practice as a barrister and, in 1992, co-founded Thomas More Chambers, serving as its Head of Chambers. He was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 2003.[2]

For part of his career as a barrister, Cox was Standing Counsel to the government of the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius. His cases include "civil fraud and asset recovery, commercial, human rights, defamation, and judicial review actions". He has frequently appeared as leading counsel in the Supreme Court or the Privy Council and he is increasingly instructed to lead in commercial actions and arbitrations overseas, appearing in the DIFC, Mauritius and the Cayman Islands.[2]

His criminal cases include the Jubilee line corruption trial, representing the controversial multi-millionaire Nicholas van Hoogstraten, the billionaire owner of RBG Resources, and successfully defending British soldiers of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment accused of War Crimes. However, his practice has also included a wide range of commercial, human rights and constitutional cases both in the UK and overseas.

In 2014, Cox successfully defended the former Premier (and current Leader of the Opposition) of the Cayman Islands, McKeeva Bush, on corruption and Misuse of Office charges [1] . In March 2015, Cox successfully defended the deputy Editor of The Sun Geoff Webster in a trial of 4 journalists resulting from Operation Elveden.[3] The jury had to decide at what point the behaviour of those on trial could be considered a criminal rather than a serious disciplinary matter and even the lawyers found this difficult to define.[4] Cox subsequently publicly criticized the vagueness of the law and its disproportionate use which led to the prosecution.[3]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Cox was first selected to stand for Parliament in 2000 by the Torridge and West Devon Conservatives. In the following 2001 general election, he was narrowly defeated by the Liberal Democrat John Burnett reducing his majority to 1,194 votes.

After the 2001 election Cox was reselected. In 2003 John Burnett announced he would not be contesting the seat again and, at the 2005 general election, Cox defeated the new Liberal Democrat candidate, David Walter, with a majority of 3,236.

Between 2005 and 2010 the boundaries of the constituency were changed and a substantial part of West Devon Borough was transferred from Torridge and West Devon into the newly created Central Devon constituency.

Cox made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 28 June 2005, which was voted by fellow MPs one of the four best maiden speeches of the parliament.

Cox is a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.

Cox was re-elected as MP for Torridge and West Devon at the 2015 general election with an increased majority of 18,403 votes or 32.5%.

Tax avoidance allegations[edit]

In September 2014, it was reported that Cox was one of a number of individuals investing in the Phoenix Film Partners LLC scheme run by Ingenious PLC which HMRC has alleged to be a tax avoidance scheme. Ingenious claimed the scheme had been submitted to HMRC for pre-approval and that HMRC had not raised any objections. Cox has said that if the scheme is a tax avoidance scheme, it would have contradicted his instructions to the financial advisers to whom he specified that he did not wish to be involved in aggressive tax avoidance.[5] The tax status of the scheme is due to be considered at a tribunal later in 2015.

Second career debate[edit]

Cox has continued to practice as a Queens Counsel whilst an MP.[2] According to the Daily Telegraph, based on the declarations in the register of members' interests, Cox's extra-parliamentary work was worth £820,867 in 2014 or 12 times his annual MP salary, whilst the total time on extra-parliamentary work that was registered in 2014 was 1,954 hours.[6] The hours were worked over a period of three years.[citation needed] Cox has previously defended his outside work claiming that MPs of all parties have practised as QCs over the years and the Attorney General and Solicitor General are normally chosen from their ranks.[7] He claimed he has always been used to long hours and that the Nolan report concluded that Parliament needed people from a wide range of professional backgrounds.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Cox and his wife Jeanie live in West Devon and are the parents of one daughter and two sons.


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59418. p. 8741. 13 May 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Thomas More Chambers:Geoffrey Cox QC". Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Sun journalist's lawyer queries use of 'vague' law". BBC news. 21 March 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Lisa O'Carroll (20 March 2015). "Acquittal of four senior Sun journalists seen as blow to CPS". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  5. ^ NDJFayeG (17 September 2014). "HMRC probes company in which MP Geoffrey Cox invested". North Devon Journal. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Lyndsey Telford and Luke Heighton (22 February 2015). "The MPs who topped up their salaries with £1,600-an-hour second jobs". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Geoffrey Cox (4 June 2013). "Experience of world of work must not be lost in Commons". Western Morning News. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Burnett
Member of Parliament for Torridge and West Devon