MANDRAKE: Paul Dacre's days are numbered with the Daily Mail
PUBLISHED: 10:21 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:23 18 October 2019
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Former Daily Mail editor shocks executives with 'suicide note' attacking his successor... and Andrew Bridgen's day out courtesy of Arron Banks.
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Brextremists may be notorious for being laws unto themselves, but it remains to be seen how much longer Lord Rothermere will be willing to tolerate Paul Dacre on his payroll as his 'editor-in-chief' now that he's taken to publicly lambasting Geordie Greig, his successor at the helm of the Daily Mail.
Over the weekend, Dacre, 71 next month, wrote to the Financial Times' letters column to complain that Greig was lying - or being "economic with the actualité" - when he'd stated in an interview that 265 businesses had resumed advertising with his supposedly detoxified paper during his first year as editor. Dacre countered that "far more than that number left during the same period".
One of Greig's lieutenants tells me that the "commercially damaging" letter read like a "suicide note". He added that Dacre previously had an outlet for his anger in the Mail, but now he's having to channel it in other ways and it's not always proving helpful to the company. Rothermere still pays Dacre a tidy sum. In his final year as the Mail's editor, he made £2.7 million.
Greig took on the Mail editorship on the basis he would answer directly to Rothermere, but his paper seems to me to be as pro-Brexit as ever. Its editorial on Saturday attacked Remain MPs for "wailing like banshees" when "the long-suffering public just want us to leave".
Meanwhile, Dacre, has been dining a number of veteran Mail journalists, but I hear that at least one - a former deputy - has thus far been unwilling to accept his hospitality. He perhaps subscribes to Dacre's diktat: "Never dine with with a dead man."
How sad that Steve Baker, the chairman of the ERG, appears to have fallen for fool's gold.
In February last year, I disclosed how Baker, at the time the junior minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union, had bought 673,000 shares in Glint Pay Limited, a company set up to cash in on rising gold prices amid the Brexit chaos, for £15,000.
They shot up in value to £70,000, but now it's not clear what Baker will get back as the company has gone into administration.
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Glint was set up in 2015 and Baker was one of dozens of investors who filled their boots. Others included Andrea Leadsom's husband Ben, and the former deputy Conservative Party chairman Lord Howard Flight, with 6,945,231 and 339,000 shares respectively.
Glint's most recent set of accounts showed that it lost £5.5 million on £8.4 million worth of business. Baker still lists his investment in Glint on the Register of Members' Interests as being worth in excess of £70,000. Glint's administrators are working with its board to seek investment to rescue the company.
In his final days at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Jeremy Hunt was the last of the big spenders.
The FCO has just disclosed it spent £258,100 on a private charter flight trip to Africa undertaken "to promote the Africa Strategy and to promote post-Brexit global Britain objectives".
Hunt took nine officials with him, but the FCO insist just £16,609 of the cash burn was attributable to him. He also found time to take in RAF flights to France, Luxembourg and Belgium before he left the FCO after Boris Johnson beat him in the Tory leadership election. Those trips set the taxpayer back £10,316.
When Theresa May was last year doing everything she could to stop the multimillionaire former UKIP funder Arron Banks and his sidekick Andy Wigmore from joining the party, Andrew Bridgen defied her by allowing them to join his local association in North West Leicestershire.
Although the Tory MP was stymied by party headquarters, Bridgen's loyalty to the pair has not gone unrewarded. He has declared that he celebrated the third anniversary of the vote to leave the EU on June 23 by attending the game between Pakistan and South Africa in the Cricket World Cup at Lord's - a jolly that would normally set him back £444 - as a guest of an outfit called Eldon Insurance.
Eldon is owned by Banks and its CEO is Elizabeth Bilney, who was in charge at Leave.EU. Earlier this year, Banks and Eldon were fined £60,000 each by the Information Commissioner's Office for illegal marketing messages.
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