Once the best of pals, David Cameron and Michael Gove, the former Justice Secretary, fell out over the EU referendum.
Cameron arrogantly assumed that Gove would abandon his principles and join him on the Remain ticket.
He didn’t, of course, and notoriously thin-skinned Cameron hasn’t uttered a word to Gove since conceding defeat in a frosty telephone call last June. Now it seems the rift may deepen.
Cameron hasn’t uttered a word to Gove since conceding defeat in a telephone call last June
Some observers say Cameron is struggling to find a new direction, with friends saying they are too busy to play tennis when he asks.
Margaret, Labour’s Iron Lady
Margaret Beckett was the longest-serving female MP ever
A small milestone was passed last week when Margaret Beckett, the first woman Foreign Secretary, became the longest-serving female MP ever.
Elected in October 1974, she served until 1979, lost her seat and returned in 1983. She was Labour’s first woman leader, albeit only acting, after the untimely death of John Smith in 1994.
The irony will not be lost on the sisterhood that in Beckett’s time the Tories have had two women PMs, while Labour has had none.
Yesterday, though, he was being linked by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon to the £220,000 (tax-free!) post of Nato Secretary General. But Gove’s name is also being bandied around New York. He has been put forward by a retired British soldier respected on both sides of the Atlantic.
Gove is a staunch supporter of the special relationship. And there is another intriguing element: he was the first British journalist to interview President Donald Trump, who will have a big say in the decision.
Former Canadian PM Stephen Harper is favourite to replace current Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who will stand down by 2019 — but now it seems there are two British contenders.
Britain has held the post three times. Lord Ismay from 1952 to 1957, then Lord Carrington, who was Margaret Thatcher’s first Foreign Secretary, and George Robertson, who was Tony Blair’s first Defence Secretary.
Will Gove disappoint Cameron again and become the fourth?
Margaret Thatcher’s curmudgeonly press secretary, Sir Bernard Ingham, says Remoaner Lord Heseltine is in denial. ‘He doesn’t seem to realise the Germans have run the show for years.’ Quite.
Michael Portillo must have exhausted the world’s great train journeys. The ex-Tory minister is downsizing from the BBC to Channel 5 for a new series, Abandoned Britain, in which he will ‘root around derelict sites on the demolition list and blow the dust from fascinating stories’. He could start with Corbyn’s Labour Party.
Michael Portillo is downsizing from the BBC to Channel 5 for a new series, Abandoned Britain
Quote of the week: Delightful Eurosceptic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg on triggering Article 50: ‘Admittedly, nothing is truly worthy of comparison to the Resurrection but it is a great day and one of renewal.’
The Financial Times takes a holier-than-thou view about not accepting free gifts and lunches.
But the pink ’un had a ‘complementary’ lunch the other day with EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker. Presumably the beano, including L’Hospitalet de Gazin Pomerol at £32 a bottle, was a reward for its fawning EU coverage.
After all, editor Lionel Barber received the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honour, in recognition of his career in journalism and the paper’s ‘positive role in the European debate’.
BBC DJ launches remain rant
David Cameron didn’t escape Brexit Day last week entirely without comment.
The Radio 6 Music DJ Marc Riley tweeted a picture of the ex-PM with the message: ‘On this day let’s spare a thought for the . . . chinless, spineless, narcissistic, privileged, disappearing scroat who triggered this off.’ Riley says the views are ‘my own, not those of the BBC’ (the same weaselly defence used by Gary Lineker when spouting his sanctimonious Lefty views on Twitter).
So is it a coincidence that Riley’s Remain rant echoes the private views of most BBC top brass?
DJ Marc Riley tweeted a picture of Cameron with the message: ‘On this day let’s spare a thought for the . . . chinless, spineless, narcissistic, privileged, disappearing scroat who triggered this off.’