David Cameron’s ‘sorrow’ for Theresa May didn’t extend to putting in a phone call, how Boris Johnson is raking in £1 million a year, and hail and farewell, Sir Vince Cable.
Although David Cameron professed on television to have felt “desperately sorry” for Theresa May on the day she made her tearful farewell speech outside No.10, this didn’t extend to him feeling the need to put in a personal call to commiserate with his successor. “It was a painful enough day for Theresa without also having to speak to David,” one of Mrs May’s associates tells Mandrake. “It’s fair to say there’s never been any love lost between them.”
This is consistent with what Fiona Hill, May’s former joint chief of staff, used to say to me about how her boss always felt excluded in “the boys’ public school atmosphere” that pervaded Downing Street during the years Cameron and George Osborne held sway. “Theresa never felt liked or trusted by either of them and that’s largely why she left them to it during the EU referendum campaign,” she told me. “Cameron and Osborne were as thick as thieves, but only Osborne has been honest since leaving office about what he thought about Theresa.”
Laurence Mann, Cameron’s factotum, declined to say if a call had been put into May, or if Cameron had any plans to see her in the foreseeable future.
I now recall with a shudder, by the way, how Hill asked me to come in to May’s campaign headquarters to try to enlist some celebrity support when she was fighting for the Tory leadership. May had seemed to me the lesser evil than Andrea Leadsom, so I duly showed up. I’d one job, which was to persuade Sir Roger Moore to introduce May at a campaign stop in the north of England. “Would you like the long answer or the short answer?” the late, great actor told me. I asked for the short answer. “No,” he said.
Boris Johnson – who once maintained his earnings outside of politics amounted to no more than “chicken feed” – has trousered almost £1 million from freelance work and donations over the past year. His latest cheque for £26,443 was for a speaking engagement last week at the Swiss Economic Forum in Interlaken, where he controversially pledged he’d take the UK out of the EU with or without a deal if he becomes prime minister.
The latest register of members’ interests shows Johnson made a total of £854,000, with the bulk of it coming from Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, the fanatically pro-Brexit owners of the Daily Telegraph, who pay him £22,916.66 for the 10 hours’ toil he puts in each week writing for their newspaper.
Speaking engagements have, meanwhile, made him £361,000 since he quit the Foreign Office last year, with engagements in New Delhi and New York alone making him £122,899 and £94,507 respectively. He has netted £700,000 from books, journalism and talks.
Johnson has lately been hoarding funds from donors, declaring £73,000 coming in for “office and staffing”, with £23,000 from Sir Lynton Crosby’s political strategy firm CTF Partners. There’s been a further £77,000 in donations in kind – including £10,000 from J C Bamford Excavators – which have included helicopter trips.
The wonderful Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg – one of just three recipients of the European Theatre Award – returns to London to perform Three Sisters at the Vaudeville Theatre from June 19 to 29. I ask Lev Dodin, the company’s wise and witty artistic director, if many politicians come to see their shows as they tour the world. “Sadly, no,” he says. “Maybe if more politicians appreciated drama, they’d make less drama out of politics.”
A DECENT MAN
Few political leaders manage to resign with dignity, but one managed it last Friday. Not, of course, Theresa May, but Sir Vince Cable, who leaves behind a party that – as the EU election results show – is in great shape. I interviewed the outgoing Lib Dem leader on innumerable occasions and what I most admired about him was that there was never a question he wouldn’t answer directly. “He’s thoughtful, principled and honest,” the Lib Dems’ equalities spokesperson Baroness Hussein-Ece tells me. “Right about Brexit, as about so much else, and he’s leaving on a high.”