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Mandrake: Is Geordie Greig a contender for Andrew Marr’s seat?

It was rumoured the former Daily Mail editor may be the next boss of Ofcom, but perhaps he's destined for a more high-profile role.

Geordie Greig attends the launch of "Fortnum & Mason: The Cook Book". Photo: Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images.

The Guardian may have mischievously suggested Geordie Greig as the next boss of broadcasting regulator Ofcom – after his old adversary Paul Dacre threw in the towel – but I hear the former Daily Mail editor may be destined for a more high-profile role.

“Maybe it’s serendipitous that Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning slot should have come up for grabs in the same week Geordie vacated the editor’s chair,” whispers my mole at the Beeb. “Geordie is an experienced interviewer with a hinterland and a contacts book, and, frankly, he’d get the BBC out of a hole. There’s a staleness to the internal candidates and a lot of them are getting on. As for Andrew Neil, he can’t reasonably be seen to be rewarded for his defection to GB News.”

Greig, pictured, was asked to continue working at the Mail under his replacement Ted Verity but understandably declined. The bewildering executive reshuffle announced by the paper’s proprietor Lord Rothermere hasn’t ground Greig down – “onwards,” he’s been telling the many who texted their good wishes – and a number of new roles are being mooted, including a return to either Lord Lebedev’s media empire or Condé Nast or heading up an arts organisation.

Dacre, 73, relinquished and then, within three weeks, regained his editor-in-chief role for Rothermere, but it’s stressed it won’t involve “day-to-day editing.” Dacre has also been talking about “an exciting new job in the private sector,” which may or may not imply a further role. He has lately been spotted at a celebration hosted by businessman and former Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft, which might hint at what this is.

He was also at Rupert Murdoch’s 90th birthday party and been linked to a takeover bid for the Telegraph titles, involving Saudi sultan Muhammad Abuljadayel, but his return to the Mail seems to preclude working for a rival publication Meanwhile, with a grim inevitability, Greig’s old paper has reverted to type, going in the space of a few weeks from running headlines such as “Is anybody in charge at No 10?” to “How Boris CAN keep the red wall blue.”

Jet set

After hearing Rishi Sunak commend the nation for “pulling together” during his budget speech, Iain Duncan Smith jumped on a jet to Rome with a member of his staff to enjoy £3,177 of free hospitality. He’s just declared that the Open Society Foundation paid for him to attend the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance conference on China. A spokesman for IDS says he knocked off an article for the Telegraph regarding Universal Credit immediately after the budget and “later that day/early evening” made his flight.

Heaven forbid anyone should think it was a Roman holiday. It was, the spokesman added, all about “drawing attention to President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party’s systematic onslaught on democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.”

Manor born

Mandrake looks forward to the day when we can all be “levelled up” to the point that the levelling up minister Michael Gove has levelled himself up to. He recently stayed in a hotel room that retails at £885 for a single night, with £70 for dinner and £50 for a drinks reception as extras.

Gove stayed at the Cliveden House Hotel, in Berkshire – where Christine Keeler, pictured, met John Profumo and precipitated a scandal that eventually brought down Harold Macmillan’s government – at the expense of the Cliveden LitFest. Gove spoke about the importance of being “true to yourself.”

Still, at least it’s not the taxpayer who paid for this jolly. I await figures for the outgoings at Gove’s official residence, Carlton Gardens with interest. When Boris Johnson was tenant, running costs worked out at £2,965 per day.

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