Iain Duncan Smith has belatedly apologised for branding one of the UK’s most experienced lawyers “second rate”.
On Monday, the former Tory cabinet minister told Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Kier Starmer, that he was “a second-rate lawyer who doesn’t even understand the parliamentary process”.
Sir Kier is a former director of public prosecutions. He was knighted in 2014 for services to law and criminal justice.
Speaking in the Commons today, Duncan Smith told the Labour MP: “Can I unreservedly withdraw the allegation I made on Monday - only on the basis that it was clumsy. It was not meant about him. It was meant about advice and I don’t doubt for a moment his capabilities as a lawyer.”
Sir Kier told the leading Brexiteer: “I’m grateful for that and I can asssure him I wasn’t the slightest bit concerned.”
Duncan Smith had launched his attack on Sir Kier after the Labour frontbencher criticised the government for rejecting calls for MPs to vote on Brexit negotiating terms.