The Londoner: Lord says let's make a pig's ear of Brexit
An Anglo-Irish Lord has suggested that farmers in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will benefit from a post-Brexit hard border by smuggling livestock back and forth over the border when the exchange rate between sterling and the euro fluctuates.
Eyebrows were raised at a book launch in Piccadilly when Lord Magan opined that it would be worth jeopardising the peace process with a hard border so as to benefit from the profits afforded by said smuggling — an opinion maybe more in line with IRA paramilitaries than an aristocrat who sits in the House of Lords.
Lord Magan, a retired banker and former chairman of the Conservative Party, spoke about how he had high hopes for Brexit. “A hard border would be marvellous,” he said. “If the euro is down, you might only be able to sell your pig in the Republic for €85. Then you can just bring the pig across the border and sell it for £110.” With a wry smile spreading across his face, the 73-year-old said: “It works the other way around if sterling is down — just bring your pig back across the border and sell it there.” Bringing home the bacon, indeed.
The peer, who was also once treasurer of the Conservative Party, is the son of the late M15 director, Brigadier Bill Magan, who died, aged 101, in 2010, after a celebrated career as one of Britain’s leading intelligence officers.
In 2018, Lord Magan made headlines when he was ordered by the High Court of Ireland to pay a rent bill of €571,000 (£505,000) for his Palladian family mansion, Castletown Cox House, in County Kilkenny, dubbed Ireland’s most beautiful home. He bought the mansion in 1999 but established a trust, the Castletown Foundation, to manage the property with his two children, Edward Magan and Henrietta Black, as beneficiaries.
He has since become involved in a dispute with the foundation over rent arrears and other loans. Lord Magan’s primary residence is in Kensington.
Trump women to meet Mays at No10
Melania Trump will join departing first spouse Philip May at No 10 for a garden party during the state visit next month, The Londoner can reveal. Guests will include No 10 and embassy spouses, and the US President’s daughter Ivanka has also been invited.
Meanwhile, Tory leadership contenders are said to be jostling for a seat at the state dinner to be held at Buckingham Palace. A government source told us this morning that the Trump team seems to be more interested in wooing the royals than the Government.
Singer James Blunt jokes that there could be an upside to Brexit. “The end of Eurovision?” he suggested to The Londoner at the Ivor Novello Awards yesterday. Sadly, that isn’t true but he does say his Twitter account is designed to “spice things up”. “You shouldn’t take it seriously. Though my friends tell me off.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg is testy about criticism over the lack of women in his new book on the Victorians. “I wasn’t trying to do some politically correct exercise,” he told an Intelligence Squared debate. “The Victorian era was very masculine, there were no women politicians. If I’d evened up the numbers it would have been bogus.”
Tramp celebrates as the great and the good party on after 50 years
It was the 50th anniversary of Jermyn Street members-only nightclub Tramp last night, and the guest list was suitably exclusive.
DJ and super-producer Mark Ronson turned out to celebrate, as did Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer and DJ Fat Tony.
Ronson recently spoke about his creative partnership with Amy Winehouse, recalling her no-nonsense attitude. “She would be quite blunt if she didn’t like something, and would just start turning the stereo down after 20 seconds while I was playing it.”
Joan Collins also made the party, sharing a table with fellow Londoner Michael Caine. The life of Joan and her late novelist sister Jackie is set to be turned into a TV series. “I know my sister Jackie would be as excited as I am to be involved,” said Collins.
Former Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt, pictured, has some tips for Theresa May. “It’s really awful,” she says of quitting. “You don’t know where to go. Your whole team is gone. Car. Nice police officer protecting you. Everything is gone,” she tells Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking podcast. “I started by getting my bike fixed so I could bike around Copenhagen.” At least May gets to keep the car.
Has Matt Hancock got a new catchphrase? “All good things in moderation,” the Health Secretary told Good Morning Britain when asked about his high-calorie waffle breakfast. Hancock used the same phrase when we saw him out on the town two nights running last month.
One of yesterday’s odder moments arrived in the shape of a video paying tribute to the “highlights” of minister Andrea Leadsom’s time as Leader of the House of Commons. The short video was set to Billy Joel’s She’s Always a Woman.
Another sharp one-liner from PWB
Sian Clifford, who played sister Claire in Fleabag, recounts her favourite moment working with writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge. “When she came up with the line for Claire, ‘I look like a pencil’,” she tells Vulture. “It was only our second day filming and we were in a tent outside and someone was fiddling with my costume. I can still see this image of Phoebe sprinting across the park where we were filming, and she gets to me and says, “What about, ‘I look like a pencil?!’”
Quote of the day
'Thank you for acknowledging me as the writer of a f****** masterpiece'
Singer Richard Ashcroft's message to Keith Richards and Mick Jagger after winning a legal battle over the rights to Bitter Sweet Symphony