Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

In Paradise with Ashcroft

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

In Paradise with Ashcroft

Article excerpt

Mumblings in the Lib Dems that Nick Clegg yearns to replace Danny Alexander with Edward "Formerly Known As Ed" Davey in the Quad, the ConDem coalition foursome with David Cameron and George Osborne. The Deputy Prime Minister, my snout insists, fears Danny Boy is Boy George's captured castle in the Treasury. The sharp-elbowed Energy Secretary is apparently Clogg's new favourite and would supply an oomph visibly draining from the Chief Secretary. Alexander may resemble an adult Harry Potter, but electrified Lib Dems complain he's proving a political muggle as the Yellow Peril seeks to put clear blue water between itself and its Tory partner.

The plotters' lunch between the disaffected Tory billionaire Michael Ashcroft and the Labour trenchermen Tom Watson, Michael Dugher and John Spellar at the Gran Paradiso eatery in London was an unlikely meeting of minds, I hear.

From opposite sides of the political divide, the unlikely quartet shared a common dislike of David Cameron and his imported Aussie attack dingo, Lynton Crosby. Lord Ashcroft of Belize picked up the tab, I can confirm, and Labour attacks on his tax status were forgiven over the veal escalope. My radar-lugged informant swore he overheard the Sicilian strains of The Godfather waft from the table during the infamous four's luncheon. Spellar, fumbling to switch off his mobile, revealed the source of the music. Ashcroft is more of a Blofeld--your cat-stroking villain. …

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