MANDRAKE: Calls for Sunday Times to apologise to Gina Miller over ‘monkey’ remark

Gina Miller reacts outside the Supreme Court in London, where judges have ruled that Boris Johnson's

Gina Miller reacts outside the Supreme Court in London, where judges have ruled that Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend parliament for five weeks was unlawful. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Sunday Times expected to apologise to Gina Miller for calling her a monkey, richest MP Zac Goldsmith loses money on his investments, and Boris Johnson abandons Carrie Symonds' diet.

Gina Miller was loudly applauded at last week's Pink News Awards at Church House in Westminster when she asked how Boris Johnson could possibly portray himself in a filmed message screened at the event as a champion of gay rights. She recalled him writing homophobic pieces that used lines like "tank-topped bum boys".

The press watchdog IPSO makes it clear in their rules that "the press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's, race, colour, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability".

A group of individuals including Miller were referred to as "monkeys" by the Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle over the weekend. Passions run high on all sides in this national debate, but such language should never be tolerated. I challenge Martin Ivens, the editor of the Sunday Times, to do what is right and to apologise.

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Zac Goldsmith may have done a little bit better in politics than his billionaire father Sir James - the prototype Brextremist of the 1990s - but he wouldn't appear to have inherited his Midas touch.

New accounts in at Companies House reveal that Weeding Technologies, in which the environment minister holds 8,320 shares, lost £1.9 million in 2018. The loss is within an £11.25m trading deficit amassed since the firm started in 2010.

Though in the red, it has done better than All Star Leisure (Group). This bowling alley business, which counted Zac and mother Lady Annabel among its investors, has just gone into administration. No detail as yet on the firm's debts, as no statement of affairs was submitted to liquidators as at the date of their administration proposals last month.

Eyebrows were raised that Zac and his fellow investors shared in a £16m dividend payout just months before it ceased trading. The paperwork shows that HMRC presented a winding-up petition over an unpaid VAT liability at £460,000.

It's not all bad news for Zac. His investment in bookmakers Fitzdares is holding firm. Latest accounts reporting £945,000 in accumulated profits, a smidgen down on £952,000 held in 2017.

Still, Zac remains Westminster's richest MP. Tax returns - made public during his bid to become mayor of London - revealed £1.5m in "trust income" in 2014/15. With an update due soon in the register of ministers' interests, it will be interesting to see if Zac makes mention of the family trust fund.

BBC ignorance

The arrogance of the Brextremists when it comes to 'foreigners' jumping to it when they click their fingers now extends to the BBC. It blithely stated on a news bulletin over the weekend that the European parliament could be recalled to deal with Boris Johnson's latest crisis if needs be.

As the author Dr Richard North wearily points out, this assumption is based on ignorance. "The BBC has never really understood the European parliament, rarely reports on it and always underestimates it, and much the same goes for the rest of the legacy media, as well as Downing Street," he says.

"What they are not taking into account is that, the week after this week's Strasbourg plenary (the last period in the run-up to the end of the month), no activities are scheduled. Because of this, most of the 751 MEPs (plus many of their staff - bringing the total to about 2,000) will be at home (or in their constituencies or on various expeditions, which could be anywhere in the world).

"So this would not be like recalling parliament in the UK. MEPs will be spread all over Europe and beyond. There will be flights and hotels to book - difficult at short notice. Many will have previous commitments and they can't be forced to attend. There could be problems making up a quorum."

Lost cause

Barely four months ago, the Daily Mail was claiming in a typically unctuous article that Boris Johnson's girlfriend Carrie Symonds had "shrunk" him thanks to vegan food and no booze.

Since then, Johnson has once again ballooned. I'm told the problem is a growing appetite for fast food - his mate Donald Trump has clearly not been a good influence - and his wealthy fans keep sending him cases of vintage Tignanello - which retails at £180 a bottle - after he let it be known that he loved glugging it.

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