The government’s lead counsel triggered a domestic violence clash today after being accused of telling a joke about his wife’s beating.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, QC, was struck by a Labor Party lawyer after citing a well-known charge in the heated House exchanges.
Responding to the challenge “When did you stop hitting your wife?” It is used as an example of a difficult question that is difficult to answer without accepting the premises.
Even if a husband can never beat his wife, the simple answer “I did not do it” suggests that they did it and continue to do so.
She said: “The Attorney General made a joke about the phrase,” When did you stop hitting your wife? ”
“Part of the reason people are so upset about this extension is that the Domestic Violence Bill has gone down.”
Cox, with the red face, tried to justify the appointment of the example because he is well-known lawyers.
He said, “If I offended, I certainly did not want to.
“It’s an old adage of the Bar Association that simply speaks of an interrogation technique of asking a question that assumes the premise, and that’s what they taught us.
“If I offended, I’m sorry.”
House of Commons spokesman John Bercow warned, “It’s a matter of extreme sensitivity.
“It is extremely important that we be sensitive to the wider implications and interpretations of what we say.
“Society’s customs change, and sometimes it can be discovered that the things it has freely said in the past without offense can no longer be said without offense.”
Mr. Cox also suggested that the Domestic Violence Bill could be sent back to the House of Commons now that his suspension had been lifted.