Ephraim Hard­cas­tle

Daily Mail - - News - Email: peter.mckay@dai­ly­mail.co.uk

THERESA May, un­der pres­sure from some of her back­benchers to re­peal the Fixed-Term Par­lia­ments Act and call a Gen­eral Elec­tion, is warned that fail­ing to do so might be re­peat­ing a mis­take made by ‘bot­tling’ Labour PM Gor­don Brown in 2007. There’s an­other in­duce­ment: re­peal­ing the Act would re­store the Queen’s role in the demo­cratic process. Fixed terms, David Cameron’s ges­ture to Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg in Coali­tion, re­moved HM’s role in dis­solv­ing Par­lia­ment. The 2015 Gen­eral Elec­tion was the first (out of 16) in which the monarch hadn’t taken part. HM would be pleased to have her star­ring role back. CO­ME­DIAN Jack Whitehall, 28, about to tour south-east Asia, ac­com­pa­nied by his fa­ther-cum-straight-man, the­atri­cal pro­ducer Michael Whitehall, 76, is some­times de­rided for his jokes be­ing too mid­dle class. He does noth­ing to al­ter this per­cep­tion by re­mark­ing: ‘I al­ways say sticks and stones may break my bones but I’m with Bupa.’ FRANCE’S lame duck pres­i­dent, Fran­cois Hol­lande, 62, re­tires in May with his pen­sion, per­ma­nent se­cu­rity de­tail and fra­grant com­pan­ion, ac­tress Julie Gayet, who is al­most 20 years his ju­nior. At the week­end, the lo­cal me­dia fo­cused also on his meet­ing with Iris Mit­te­naere, 24, pic­tured, France’s first Miss Uni­verse since 1953, in­stead of the ‘charm of­fen­sive’ visit of our un­of­fi­cial royal Brexit Am­bas­sadors, the Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge. Be that as it may, France is get­ting the full royal treat­ment this spring. Princes Charles, Wil­liam and Harry will be there next month com­mem­o­rat­ing the cen­te­nary of the Bat­tle of Vimy Ridge. MRS Brown’s Boys writer and star Bren­dan O’Car­roll, 61, boasts in the Ra­dio Times that the Queen’s staff asked for an ad­vanced copy of the slap­stick, cross­dress­ing, ex­ple­tive-prone show’s Christ­mas episode. ‘They’re mad about the show,’ he claims. Can this be true? The palace nei­ther con­firms nor de­nies which shows are watched. But my source on royal mat­ters says: ‘The Queen cer­tainly is known to en­joy some cross-dress­ing com­edy. She used to watch Dick Emery when her di­ary per­mit­ted.’ THE new editor of the Evening Stan­dard, George Os­borne, 45, of­fered in­for­ma­tion to favoured jour­nal­ists on the strict ba­sis that ‘noth­ing un­flat­ter­ing ever ap­peared about him’, said Janan Ganesh in his 2012 bi­og­ra­phy of the ex-chan­cel­lor. Such as? He dropped one trusted scribe for the not-very-serious of­fence of re­veal­ing that he was hav­ing £100-an-hour vo­cal coach­ing to lower his pub­lic speak­ing voice. SIR Ni­cholas Soames, 69, the for­merly ro­tund but now much re­duced Tory MP, en­joys goad­ing fem­i­nists. His week­end mes­sage to them via Twit­ter stated: ‘Driv­ing back to watch rug­ger and lis­tened to re­ally vin­tage [Ra­dio 4’s] Woman’s Hour. Rape, tam­pons etc. A ver­i­ta­ble cor­nu­copia of gloom.’ Isn’t it time they hauled the old warthog onto ITV’s day­time slang­ing match, Loose Women, and gave him a go­ing-over?

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