Before taking his double first at Cambridge, Lord Goldsmith attended Quarry Bank in Liverpool, the same school where John Lennon failed all his O-levels. Goldsmith’s subsequent success as a commercial silk and as chairman of the Bar Council, plus his undoubted Blairite credentials, made him an ideal choice for Attorney General.
Yet on being appointed in June 2001, he was largely unknown outside the law. Since then, this lifelong Beatles fan has arguably guaranteed his strapline in history: the man who didn’t give peace a chance. Why? Because it was his controversial advice in March 2003 – that using force could be legally justified – which sanctioned Britain joining the war against Iraq.
From his chambers overlooking Buckingham Palace, the Attorney General is now fighting another war – this time on fraud. Due to be published imminently, the Fraud Review promises a powerful Government attack on what the interim report describes as ‘second only to drug trafficking in causing harm to the economy and society’. Goldsmith explains: “Fraud is a significant problem. The latest guesstimate is that it costs the economy £14bn per year (£235 per head of the population). We know that fraud funds terrorism, sometimes in large sums.”