Lord Rothermere’s non-dom tax status will be preserved if the UK leaves EU, Liam Fox gains weight but no job and Adam Boulton defends press freedom.
For a supposedly pro-EU proprietor like Lord Rothermere, to have one Brextremist editor may be regarded as a misfortune, but to have two in succession looks distinctly like carelessness.
Much was made of how Geordie Greig, when he succeeded Paul Dacre as editor the Daily Mail exactly a year ago, would soften, if not reverse, the paper’s stance, but in recent weeks the paper has become a more demented outrider for the hard right coup than ever.
In an extraordinary editorial on Saturday, the paper responded to the “hysteria” surrounding Boris Johnson’s decision to shut MPs out of the Commons by saying: “You’d think he’d abolished Parliament, rather than given MPs a few extra days off after the rigours of the party conference season.”
Fact check: there’s no convention or precedent for a five-week prorogation. In the last 40 years, parliament has never been prorogued for longer than three weeks. The idea that Johnson is doing this in the run-up to the UK’s departure from the EU on October 31 merely to allow MPs a proper post-conference “break” takes Mail readers for imbeciles.
Fact check: Rothermere saves a fortune in tax each year on account of his ‘non-dom’ status, but these concessions he could have expected to lose when the European Union’s Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive comes into force on January 1 next year. So long as the UK cuts its ties with the EU before then, his lordship, pictured, will be sitting pretty.
The Mail on Sunday advised its readers to vote Remain in the EU referendum when Greig was its editor, but, under his successor Ted Verity, that paper has dramatically changed its tune: Jacob Rees-Mogg was its star turn on Sunday.
Adam Boulton commendably disapproves of Boris Johnson not being on speaking terms with Channel 4 News.
“Why shouldn’t the prime minister give an interview to a channel which has criticised him in the past?” the distinguished presenter asked rhetorically in a blog. “If a politician only speaks to interviewers who are his own cheerleaders, audiences aren’t going to be any better informed.”
A case in point was Johnson’s singularly unenlightening interview over the weekend with Tim Shipman, the political editor of the Sunday Times, who happens to be writing yet another biography of the PM. The tough question that Shipman kicked off his piece with? “Is being prime minister more fun than being mayor of London?”
Mandrake happened to see Liam Fox walking around alone and forlorn in Leicester Square in central London the other night. It looked as if he’d put on some weight, which struck me as ironic.
In his pomp as trade secretary, he’d spoken disdainfully of “fat and lazy” British businessmen who were not rising to the challenge of Brexit.
A look at the Register of Members’ Interests shows that Fox hasn’t found a taker for his lean and mean skills since leaving office. Come to think of it, he wasn’t much better at finding lucrative post-Brexit work for the country.
The last time Anthony Seldon was on Question Time, his fellow panellists were startled to find him standing on his head in the green room.
“He explained he was a devotee of yoga and believed it helped to get blood to his brain, which, in turn, helped him to think more swiftly,” whispers my informant at the corporation. “This had a lot of people tittering.”
Mandrake wonders if it is really refreshing the historian’s little grey cells so very much. Speaking of the current political crisis, Seldon, pictured, told Sky News: “We are back to the struggle of the First World War, of the battle between parliament and the people, and Boris Johnson is going to be on the side of the people,” he intoned, ludicrously and unctuously.