Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why Have They All Got It in for Nikki?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why Have They All Got It in for Nikki?

Article excerpt


IMUST declare an interest in the John Redwood and Nikki Page story. Nikki is a friend of mine. I have known her for nearly five years, from when I started working for William Hague a couple of years before the 2001 election.

We hit it off immediately in the dusty world of Tory politics: neither of us had blue hair and we were both under 70.

She is also friendly, fun, loyal, smart and proved to be a fine partner for a spot of retail therapy when everything seemed hopeless; which was often.

The person I have been reading about over the past few days in connection with the break-up of John Redwood's marriage is none of these things. That woman is a spoilt, rich, stupid, opportunistic home-wrecker and - sin of all sins in the hallowed world of politics - gorgeous.

In Westminster, if you're not plain talking and even plainer looking, you're branded either a tart or totty. If it's a sin to be glamorous, then Nikki Page is guilty. If it's a sin to be born with a perfect size 10 figure and to look better at 51 than most of us do at 40, then she's guilty too. If it's a sin to like stilettos, then half the female population is guilty too.

I am also a fan of John Redwood. He is clever and committed, a traditional Tory who believes in marriage, even when his wife of 20-plus years said she wanted out, as Gail Redwood did. I know this because I know John. He called after the Christmas break and asked me for lunch on 5 February.

He is not a man to show his emotions, but that day he was very sad indeed.

His wife had left him. She had been deeply unhappy for a long time. Even her close friends now talk openly about the deep depression that has debilitated her for years. He was too loyal to mention that. There was no chance of a reconciliation, he said. Gail had even taken their beloved cats. By April, at his wife's insistence, the financial deal was enacted.

So it was with incredulity that I read the stories at the weekend that he had abandoned his wife and set up home with Nikki. You only need to scratch the surface of these people to realise they are what we used to call decent. …

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