Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Londoner's Diary

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Londoner's Diary

Article excerpt

Black's lunch offensive

CONRAD BLACK'S attempt to relaunch himself in London society continues apace.

Just days before Lord Black and wife Barbara Amiel showed up at Drew Heinz's summer party in Mayfair, I learn Black was invited to lunch at Maurice Saatchi's Sussex home.

"The Blacks are assuming that people in London are too nice and too polite to turn their backs on them," says my mole. " They have been ostracised in New York, isolated in Canada and have sold up in Florida. There is nowhere left for them to go."

Black, former proprietor of Black and Saatchi: lunch date The Daily Telegraph, was waxing pompous about himself and the world chez Saatchi, seemingly oblivious to the impending fraud charges against him. He and fellow executives stand accused of looting $400 million from his former company Hollinger Inc and its subsidiary Hollinger International. Black denies the allegations.

Amiel departed halfway through Saatchi's lunch, looking upset, and didn't reappear until many of her fellow guests had left.

"It was a private lunch," says Saatchi's office.

Modern review

MORE TORY intrigue. Policy Exchange is co-hosting a debate, "The Case for Change 2005", at Portcullis House next Wednesday. "Set the agenda for a radical overhaul of the Conservative Party," reads the invitation. "This event will be strictly by invitation only and subject to Chatham House rules."

David Davis and David Cameron might want to know that the panel includes " modernisers" such as Stephen Dorrell, Michael Gove, Theresa May and Damian Green.

Tory Party Chairman Francis Maude set up the thinktank Policy Exchange. Many suspect that this event is part of Maude's ongoing drive to stamp his influence on the Tory leadership race.

The debate is happening a day before Parliament breaks up for its summer recess.

STANLEY Johnson is still hoping to join his Tory MP son Boris in Parliament. …

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