MANDRAKE: Dacre dread at Daily Mail

Paul Dacre, former editor of The Daily Mail, arrives to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. (Phot

Paul Dacre, former editor of The Daily Mail, arrives to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) - Credit: Getty Images

Former editor's book and TV show worries Mail executives, Rosie Duffield is in disgrace for winning and Boris Johnson's fear of 'Sir' Iain Duncan Smith.

Paul Dacre's intemperate attack on Geordie Greig ‑ he said his successor as editor of the Daily Mail had been "economic with the actualité" ‑ has led to sense of dread among senior executives at the newspaper group about the publication of his forthcoming autobiography.

"The plan is for it to come out at around the time his Channel 4 series The World According to Paul Dacre is aired in around 12 months and no one is expecting either endeavour to help the Mail in its quest to attract a younger audience," says my man at Northcliffe House. "This will be Victor Meldrew shouting 'I don't believe it' two last times."

The veteran Brextremist has already spoken about calling his memoirs A Dish Best Eaten [sic] Cold, which suggests he may yet launch another broadside against Greig and others who have displeased him over the years such as David Cameron, Alan Rusbridger, Stephen Fry and Melvyn Bragg.

I hear Dacre has been getting up first thing in the morning to write the book, which he's signed up Natasha Fairweather ‑ Boris Johnson's literary agent ‑ to help him to sell.


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Mandrake wonders if the book will include any criticism, too, of Lady Rothermere, who is credited with pushing for Greig to replace him as editor of the Daily Mail. Before Christmas, her ladyship got all the female luminaries of her husband's newspaper ‑ including Sarah Vine, Amanda Platell, Maggie O'Riordan and Liz Hunt ‑ together for a "brainstorming" meeting to see how best to make the title more attractive to women readers.

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Knight error

Furious that this typically incompetent government briefly and accidentally put online his home address when they published the New Years' honours list, Iain Duncan Smith now has the humiliation of seeing an online petition gathering momentum to call for his knighthood to be withdrawn.

"Even Boris Johnson could see than an honour for Duncan Smith ‑ the architect of the cruel Universal Credit system ‑ wasn't going to be popular, but Duncan Smith made it clear to him that he owed him," whispers my man in Whitehall. "It was the usual thing about 'it's not that it matters to me, but it would just mean the world to my wife to be made a Lady'. The plain fact is Johnson is scared of Duncan Smith."

The petition was set up by Dr Mona Kamal Ahmed, an NHS psychiatrist who says she has frequently seen people with chronic mental illness experiencing panic attacks caused by the assessments claimants were put through and over potentially losing welfare payments.

Neil's fortune

Canny Andrew Neil has built up an £8.5 million fortune in his private firm Glenburn Enterprises, which he set up in 1990 as an "artistic creation" business. Its latest accounts for the year to December 31, 2018, show the firm held £8.7 million in fixed asset investments and £646,000 in cash, with a further £1.2 million in tangible assets.

These assets are offset by costs of £1.1 million which leaves the company with a net worth of £8.5 million, £200,000 up on the £8.3 million his business was worth at the end of 2017. No word on Neil's pay from the firm, which the latest figures show employed three members of staff, down one on the number employed the year before.

Labour pain

With Labour still blaming the electorate rather than itself for what went wrong in the general election, it's perhaps not so surprising it's turning on Rosie Duffield, one of its candidates who had the temerity to get herself re-elected.

Ben Hickman, her local constituency association chairman in Canterbury, has just sent an email to members moaning about her. He was especially incensed that Duffield went on ITV's Peston show on the eve of the election and correctly predicted a Tory majority.

"How this was supposed to help secure a Labour government, let alone stop a hard Brexit, is hard to imagine," Hickman wailed. He was also livid that she had advocated tactical voting, but, during the campaign, he'd managed to bite his lip "to allow us the best chance of winning locally." He now wants her conduct to be "addressed".

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