ANDREW PIERCE: What about Europe values now, Hezza?
As President of the European Movement UK, the former Tory Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine already seems to be campaigning for Britain to re-enter the EU.
In a message last week to supporters, who include Lord Adonis, the former Labour Education Secretary, and Stephen Dorrell, who was a Tory Health Secretary, the European Movement declared: ‘Now that we have left the EU, the Government has choices to make about what kind of country we want to be.
‘Does Boris Johnson want us to live in a country in which working people are valued? Let’s keep up the pressure to protect the European values we hold dear.’
It was exactly 24 hours later that the EU showed the ‘values it holds dear’ by announcing it planned to impound life-saving Covid vaccines which were destined for Northern Ireland.
As for Heseltine and the European Movement, their latest missive — which came across my desk yesterday — does not even mention the vaccine fiasco but bangs on about ‘building back what we lost’.
Bring back Reagan and Mrs T
Most actresses who play Margaret Thatcher, whether it’s Meryl Streep or Lindsay Duncan, insist on denouncing the woman and her politics before taking a fat cheque to portray her on screen.
Not so Lesley-Anne Down, 66, who is playing Mrs T in a film about U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
Lesley Anne Down in Upstairs, Downstairs (left) and as Mrs T (right)
The star of hit 1970s TV drama Upstairs, Downstairs, who is now based in America, admitted in the 1980s she disliked Britain’s first woman PM.
‘I was a stupid Leftie with my vapid brain twisted by ridiculousness which affects so many young people even today,’ she said.
‘But in retrospect, I think the woman was wonderful and a genius. In fact, when I was working on the movie Reagan, I said: “Wouldn’t it be lovely if Ronnie and Maggie were running the world now!” ’
Day Benn scored an own goal
Long before the endless wrangles over Brexit, Labour’s Hilary Benn learned the importance of remaining.
The long-term Spurs fan, who chaired the Brexit select committee, walked three miles in driving rain to watch his team play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in 1970. In the 89th minute, with the rain still lashing down and the game looking like a dreary goalless draw, Benn decided enough was enough.
He told the Political Party podcast: ‘I walked all the way home, soaking wet, and turned on the telly.’ He was just in time for the football results:
Chelsea 0 Tottenham 2.
Labour’s Lord Grocott last week denounced Boris Johnson for creating 61 new peers since he became Prime Minister in July 2019.
‘It brings our total membership to 833. If we continue at this rate, by the end of a five-year Parliament there could be close to 1,000 Peers.’
As an MP, Grocott was Tony Blair’s parliamentary private secretary when he created more than 200 peers.
Quote of the week: The redoubtable Ann Widdecombe, a former Brexit Party MEP, said: ‘Even the German newspaper Die Zeit in a front-page editorial described the debacle as the best advertisement for Brexit — which is like The Guardian saying vote Tory.’
The perils of working from home.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove had to break off from jousting with LBC’s Nick Ferrari.
‘Sorry my cat has just . . . the cat is actually behind the laptop and is about to knock it over.’
In the chaos that followed Gove reappeared in front of the repositioned laptop — at which point Ferrari said: ‘I am staring at your midriff, Mr Gove.
‘It’s a bit early for that.’