Is Boris going to set up his own political party?
What does Boris Johnson do next? The talk of City Hall is that the PM might “do a George Osborne” and become editor of the London Evening Standard, owned by his close pal Lord Lebedev.
But I hear of another, more exciting, plan: Johnson, below, could set up a new political party to take on his enemies in the establishment, copying Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche! which upset the French ruling elite in 2016. One sympathetic Conservative donor, who has given hundreds of thousands of pounds to the party, tells me he would happily support a Johnson-led political movement: “If he did, I would back him”.
A tightlipped spokesman for Johnson says he “is Prime Minister until Sept 5. He will have a serious think about his future after that point”.
Johnson’s support among the grass roots “puts him in a very powerful position,” the donor says. “Boris is holding all the aces.” En marche, Boris!
Francis Urquhart’s advice
On this big weekend for Conservative plotting, I ask House of Cards’ author Michael Dobbs for the wisdom of his fictional chief whip Francis Urquhart, played by Ian Richardson, right.
“Dear old FU would not have stood a chance these days,” he tells me. “He would be muttering, ‘What has happened to my party, all these candidates and not a single one is male, pale and stale’.”
As for advice, Urquhart would have said: “Remember that politics is the world’s second oldest profession, so go and learn from the first and pretend you are enjoying it while you are doing your duty.”
Cameron left red-faced
David Cameron has revealed he considered medication to stop him getting red-faced during Prime Minister’s Questions. The former PM told Politico’s Westminster Insider podcast that if he was caught out “it was very obvious because I blush very easily. A medic friend of mine said, ‘Maybe you should take a beta blocker before Prime Minister’s Questions’.”
Cameron turned down the offer. “I thought this was a terrible idea. Sometimes you are a bit full of testosterone and you are too hyped up. But I never tried.” Time for a nice cup of tea, Dave.
Lights! Camera! Hancock!
Great excitement in Westminster where former Health secretary Matt Hancock has been wandering around trailed by two cameramen.
Hancock’s team are quick to quash suggestions he is looking at starring in his own Netflix documentary. “No movie, I’m afraid”. He is just being interviewed about life as an MP.
Or so he claims…
Govey heads to Ibiza
Last summer was enlivened by the surprise decision of 50-something Cabinet minister Michael Gove to go clubbing in Aberdeen. Now I hear the ex-Levelling-Up secretary is planning on going one better this year with a holiday in Ibiza, the Spanish clubbing isle. “Stand by for more viral raving videos,” says my source in the flip-flops. I can’t wait!
An unusual artistic discovery in the bowels of the BBC’s Westminster headquarters: a painting, below, of a topless Andrew Neil, replete with a tattoo of a naked woman on his arm, playing chess. Neil assures me he did not pose for the painting. The legendary broadcaster tells me the artist – thought to be SW1-based painter Kaya Mar – had made two portraits of Neil “without me posing for him, and without my approval”.
He adds: “He tried to give me one and I said, ‘I don’t really want one, you should just burn them’.”
Give HM a Bafta!
Dame Maureen Lipman has called for the Queen to get an acting award after Her Majesty’s star turn opposite Paddington Bear as part of a short film for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
“I’m going to put forward to Bafta that the Queen should get the best newcomer award for best appearance in a short film,” Lipman told diners during an evening with the actress at the Delaunay restaurant in London.
But she conceded that the nonagenarian Queen might be a little long in the tooth for a best newcomer award.
“It would be like giving Dolly Parton a trainer bra!” she said.
Peterborough, published every Friday at 7pm, is usually edited by Christopher Hope, the Telegraph’s chief political correspondent and the author of the daily Chopper’s Politics newsletter. You can reach him at email@example.com