Londoner’s Diary: No launch for Ashcroft’s surprising book about Carrie

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It’s one of the greatest political books of the year, but there’s something of a silence around Lord Ashcroft’s new biography of Carrie Johnson.

First Lady: Intrigue at the Court of Boris and Carrie Johnson is released on Friday, but there will be no launch party. The book contains a hitherto unreported allegation that a Tory MP walked into a startling scene between the couple in Boris Johnson’s parliamentary office.

Lord Ashcroft is known for throwing literary evenings attended by politicians, often at Millbank Tower, down Parliament Street. In 2015, he even addressed a packed house via video link when he couldn’t attend.

The First Lady criticizes Carrie Johnson, alleging she is Machiavellian, and sued the Prime Minister when he was married. When the book was serialized, a spokesman for the prime minister hit back strongly, saying the claims were sexist.

The book also suggests that Carrie Johnson has influence over government policy. This week, one of the bills she would love most, banning the import of hunting trophies, was quietly dropped.

Sticky fingers? No, the greens

Green On: Keith Richards and The X-Pensive Winos perform onstage at the Sixth Annual LOVE ROCKS NYC Benefit Concert For God’s Sake We Deliver at The Beacon Theater on March 10, 2022 in New York City.

/ Getty Images for LOVE ROCKS NYC/

HARD-LIVING Stones guitarist Keith Richards has taken up a surprising new hobby: enjoying his garden. “I sat down and realized I had a garden. I had never seen him do all those things, like spring and summer… so that was new,” Richards explained recently. Let’s hope he’s careful, because he was close to death after falling from a palm tree in Fiji in 2006. I never expected to see a Rolling Stone picking up moss.

St Bride’s prays for Ukrainian journalists

A CHURCH in the City of London is planning a service to celebrate the work of journalists risking their lives to cover the unfolding horror of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. St Bride’s, on Fleet Street, known as the Church of Journalists, will hold a special service for the media in Ukraine next Thursday, March 24, at 11.30am, supported by the London Press Club. James Irving of the church tells us, “There are people in other countries under pressure not to report the real story, and we will pray for them too. If you would like to attend, you can register online.

Lobby votes lead to the mother of all gaffes

Lobby Blunders: Mhairi Black MP

/ Getty Images

The WESTMINSTER voting system may need updating. Mhairi Black of the SNP explains that because MPs vote across two halls, after which the doors are locked behind them, they sometimes make embarrassing mistakes. Black tells the Bare Naked Politics podcast that on “several occasions” she saw MPs, including SNP colleagues, going the wrong way, before realizing they were in the wrong lobby. They then “lock themselves in the toilet saying ‘I screwed up'”, and are rescued by the Sergeant-at-Arms. As Black says, ours is the mother of all parliaments.

Martin’s one-man show at the awards

LINE OF DUTY actor Martin Compton was an honorary lonely man at the Stylist’s Remarkable Women Awards at The Londoner Hotel in Leicester Square. He featured his Vigil co-star Suranne Jones with Actor of the Year. Award-winning author Bernadine Evaristo and Spice Girl Mel B had fun with actress Aisling Bea. Everyone Invited’s Soma Sara won Campaign of the Year and posed with Sabrina Elba. There was also Stacey Dooley and Munroe Bergdorf.

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FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron has mocked some for appearing to dress up as Ukrainian President Zelensky with stubble and jeans for a photoshoot at the Elysee Palace. Asked if the Prime Minister could do the same yesterday, No 10 replied with a terse ‘no’. This Boris Johnson – he hates a photo shoot.

LABOR counterpart Lord Young was reprimanded yesterday for falling asleep during a debate over the UK’s divergence from EU laws. Lady Bloomfield said, as she had to send him a note to wake him up, that he should not be allowed to speak. Lord Young said he was “not now” asleep. Brexit has been tiring many for years.

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