Londoner’s Diary: Stanley Johnson’s China trip is stumbling block for Boris

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (Dave Benett)
(Dave Benett)

STANLEY JOHNSON has caused a lot of trouble for his Prime Minister son — and it looks like more is on the way.

“It’s time to finish this one off,” Johnson, inset, told us at a party, explaining his plan to travel to China for six weeks in the summer.

Johnson’s friendliness towards China — he hosted the Chinese ambassador at his home last week — clashes with an influential wing of the Tory party who fear the country. MPs Neil O’Brien and Tom Tugendhat founded the China Research Group two years ago. It takes a highly-critical line on the behaviour and policies of the Chinese government.

Stanley Johnson told us he will “head off” at the beginning of August and join up with his son Max, Boris Johnson’s half-brother. Max Johnson lives and works in Hong Kong. Stanley is hoping to finish a journey he started in 1961 along explorer Marco Polo’s route to China. “Sixty-one years later, it’s time to finish this one off,” he said.

Allegations that Stanley Johnson had inappropriately touched a Conservative MP at a party conference, as well as a political journalist emerged last year. He denied the allegations. It seems the headaches aren’t over yet for Boris Johnson.

All’s not rosy as Queen’s gardener

The Queen (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

IT’S NOT easy being a gardener. Author Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, who launched his book English Garden Eccentrics last night, mused to The Londoner on his lack of royal favour, despite tending the Queen’s gardens for 26 years. “I’m not sure she’s terribly interested in gardens,” he confessed, “well, not many members of the royal family are interested. If I were a dog, it would be better.” Oh, to be a corgi.

Lette is ‘crème de la crim’ at palace

Kathy Lette (Dave Benett)
Kathy Lette (Dave Benett)

SPEAKING of the Queen, author Kathy Lette has recalled putting the common into Commonwealth at a Buckingham Palace do for Aussies. When introduced to the Queen, she established herself as an equal, telling her: “If you can trace yourself back to convict stock, that makes you Antipodean royalty. As my descendants were transported on the first fleet, that makes me the crème de la crim! So, g’day,” said Lette with a wink. The Queen’s flunkies let out “asthmatic gasps”, but the monarch wasn’t ruffled. An invitation to a soirée followed for Lette.

Marsan: Theatre is a class minefield

Eddie Marsan in The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe with Monica Dolan (PA)
Eddie Marsan in The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe with Monica Dolan (PA)

EDDIE MARSAN is very much a film, not a theatre, actor. “Film is more of a meritocracy than theatre,” the Canoe Man star declares. Theatre is filled with young Oxbridge directors who bury their heads in the text, he said. “I worked with a guy who was just out of Oxford and who got a first… and wants to direct a play, and I found it the most boring thing in the world because I’m not academic.” Marsan continued to the Empire podcast: “I found it more intimidating, I found it more class-based, [there was] more class prejudice in theatre… film was much more open-minded.” Ouch.

SW1A

Nadine Dorries (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
Nadine Dorries (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

NADINE DORRIES last night justified the sell-off of Channel 4 by praising Channel 5 as “a model for how broadcasting can work” after privatisation “three to five years ago”, she told LBC. But Channel 5 was never a public service broadcaster. It was owned first by Richard Desmond and then Viacom. Bewildering.

---

THERE’S no such thing as a free lunch — unless you’re Ed Balls. On holiday with Gordon Brown, Balls had to finish his squeamish boss’s oysters. “We’d gone for the set menu, which featured oysters,” he tells Noble Rot magazine. “I had to eat mine and then his because he was a bit embarrassed to turn them down.” Champagne socialism.

Camden’s Koko rises up from the ashes

Londoner’s Diary 29 4 22

KOKO is back, even before it’s back. Ahead of tonight’s opening gig — the first since a fire gutted the iconic Camden venue in 2020 — a launch party drew Damian Lewis, Sienna Miller artist Isaac Benigson, and model Charlotte Smurfit last night. Over in east London it was opening night at The Rooftop at Shoreditch One Hundred as they hosted a bash with newly relaunched GQ Style. Musician Camille Munn, aristo Lola Bute, DJ Henri Bergmann, actor Sean Sagar and stylist Mason Smillie were among those partying. A night of new starts.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting