Elephants and DNA tests come calling for Boris’s 60th bash

Latest Carrie Johnson Instagram Stories post, including with Boris wishing him a happy 60th birthday and his 6oth birthday present supporting a wonderful charity
African visitors: A herd of elephant have arrived in the former prime minister's garden

Boris Johnson is holding a 60th birthday party at his Grade II-listed home in Oxfordshire on Saturday. Dozens of guests from his time in Downing St and London’s City Hall are expected for a celebration lunch and to admire the enormous elephant sculptures in the garden that his wife Carrie gave him as a surprise birthday present this week. One guest tells me talk will inevitably turn to how Johnson can return to Parliament to save the Tory party, saying: “The great and the good will all be there; the mandarins of the party are regrouping.”

Johnson’s sister Rachel tells me she is giving Johnson a 23andMe DNA kit “to see if we are really brother and sister”.

I don’t think there is much doubt about that, Rachel.


Cameron’s delicate touch

Former prime minister David Cameron, who was helping Rishi Sunak campaign in north Devon this week, was once asked by a neighbour in Oxfordshire to assist with lambing “because I have small hands”, he told farmers.

A willing Cameron hopped over a wall and helped his farmer neighbour with a difficult birth. The farmer told him: “Thank you, Prime Minister, I am going to call that one ‘Dave’, and I am going to charge a premium.”

A week went by and an excited Cameron returned to check on the lamb’s progress.

“How is Dave doing?” he asked. The farmer replied: “Oh, Dave’s doing great.” Cameron said: “Where is he?” The farmer pointed to a field containing around 200 lambs. “Which one is Dave?” asked a puzzled Cameron. “Oh, they are all ‘Dave’,” said the farmer.


Still swimming

Cameron is still going wild swimming on long trips, he told me when I bumped into him for GB News (as I noted in last week’s Peterborough, he used to plunge into icy lakes when he was PM). “We are going tonight somewhere in Cornwall,” he said, although an aide had forgotten his trunks. “No photographs,” Cameron told me sternly. Cameron even plunged into the south Atlantic for a dip when he was visiting the Falklands in February. The sea was just three degrees. Brrr!


Ukip’s revenge

Political journalist John Stevens has recalled the 2015 election night when Ukip supporters gathered at a hotel in Margate in the hope that Nigel Farage had won Thanet South. By dawn it was clear that Farage had lost. Stevens popped downstairs to the lavatory and spotted stacked champagne glasses ready for a victory party. “These champagne glasses may no longer be needed at Nigel Farage’s election party,” he posted on social media.

Ukip’s revenge on the press pack in the hotel was swift, Stevens told his podcast The Division Bell. “Every time someone went to ask to go down to the toilet, they were told by security, ‘You can’t use the toilets because of that ---- John Stevens’.”


Social skills

Dame Prue Leith had a cheeky pop at Dame Mary Berry when she was asked for her thoughts on Mary making a TV comeback with her new BBC celebrity cookery show. Dame Prue was up for a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Guild of Food Writers Awards this week, and said: “It is a good thing for her, too – she is so good with the ‘poshos’.” Has class warfare broken out between our grand dames of the kitchen?


Gove’s farewell tour

Michael Gove was non-committal about whether his future lies in the House of Lords after polling day when I met him on the Conservative battle bus. “If this were a pop concert this would be a Rolling Stones farewell tour – for me,” he said. “I would be Mick and Jeremy Hunt would be Keith.” How about the PM? “Rishi would be Justin Timberlake,” he said. He paused. “Oh no, he has just been arrested for drink driving,” he said. Another pause. “Harry Styles?”

We will miss “the Gover”.


Lucy’s poppers

The King’s Birthday Honours prompted TV historian Lucy Worsley to reflect on receiving her OBE from the then-Prince of Wales in 2018.

On social media she wrote: “My own outfit was a 1960s velvet dress and a bolero I bought online... the dress was too small, so I had it cut down into a skirt. But then there was a gap between the skirt and the short jacket. I thought I’d sew on some poppers to hold the two items together ... But I sewed on the poppers while drinking a glass of wine and watching TV, thereby quite possibly not doing the best job in the world... At a vital moment when the royal hand was extended towards me, there was a loud ‘pop’! I had popped apart.”


Peterborough, published every Friday at 7pm, is edited by Christopher Hope. You can reach him at peterborough@telegraph.co.uk