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This morning’s Financial Times reports that  Geoffrey Cox QC, MP, earned £870,867 last year as a full time barrister. Jon Snow of Channel 4 news tweeted this information adding that during the course of the year the learned gentleman spoke in the House of Commons on only ten occasions. The people of Torridge and West Devon must be wondering if they are really getting good value from their constituency MP.

Why does this matter for the people of Mauritius? Not just because it gives us an insight into the kind of lives that prominent British lawyers lead – but because our hard earned tax payers’ money all too often contributes to their already overflowing pockets.

The earnings of Mr Cox have long been a subject of salacious interest in Britain. On 23 August 2012 Le Mauricien reported on a discussion in the Times newspaper to the effect that Geoffrey Cox was one of the highest earning MPs. The high earning member was quoted as saying that his lucrative second job “enriches Parliament. It allows you first and foremost to have an independence of mind. I’m not dependent on the whips because my career is outside as well as inside”.

On that occasion Le Mauricien commented: “Les détails des salaires annuels de l’avocat Geoffrey Cox …. font actuellement l’objet de commentaires dans des milieux du barreau, du judiciaire et du State Law Office, compte tenu des Legal Advices ou autres travaux de Consultancy pour le compte du gouvernement de Navin Ramgoolam.”

The perpetual legal process in which we Mauritians have been engaged on behalf of the Chagos islanders has arguably benefited the legions of lawyers involved much more than it has benefited the ilois. While there may have been a justification, many years ago, for raising this matter in the courts, the matter has turned into little more than a gravy train for the legal profession, with no end in sight and just a few crumbs of comfort chucked at the Chagossians, every now and then. Some ilois voted with their feet, took British citizenship and are now settled in the UK. We hope that was a good move in terms of material comfort for themselves and improved prospects for their children. And isn’t it time to investigate who stands to gain from any final settlement and what has been spent in the interim and is likely to be expended in the future?


Source cited above: ‘Mauritian Connection: Les salaires de Geoffrey Cox font jaser à Londres’, Le Mauricien, 23 Aout 2012.



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