Mr Gos­sip re­veals all!

Prince Philip’s other woman. Diana’s bad skin. HowMPs re­ally fid­dle their ex­penses.TV star, ex-MP and royal con­fi­dant GYLES BRANDRETH is the ul­ti­mate in­sider. In the year’s most colour­ful di­aries, he shares his se­crets

Daily Mail - - NEWS - by Gyles Brandreth

TThursday, Au­gust 30, 1990

HIS may be the day that changes my life. Nearly 20 years ago I met Jef­frey Archer for the first time. He was then the Con­ser­va­tive MP for Louth and he told me: ‘When you’re ready to be­come an MP Gyles, let me know. I’ll get you sorted.’ I’ve de­cided it’s time to take him up on the of­fer.

This morn­ing I called Jef­frey. ‘Yes,’ he barked, ‘it’s about time.’ The man I need to see is Tom Arnold, vice chair­man of the Con­ser­va­tive Party, in charge of candidates.

Tom Arnold went to my old school, Bedales. I’ve writ­ten to him.

Mon­day, Novem­ber 5, 1990

SIR THOMAS and I ex­changed pleas­antries and then I came to the point. ‘Of­fi­cially, the list is closed,’ he said. ‘But . . . you never know.’

Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 20, 1990

I HAD my sec­ond en­counter with Tom Arnold last night. I knew I had to be in two places at the same time: on the stage of the Wim­ble­don The­atre, where I am ap­pear­ing in panto — Cin­derella — and in Sir Tom’s of­fice at 32 Smith Square, Lon­don SW1.

Hap­pily, the gods smiled on me and a mo­ment or two be­fore six, the the­atre sup­per-break was an­nounced. I tore off my Baron Hardup cos­tume, threw on my char­coal-grey suit, leapt into a cab and stepped into Tom Arnold’s room on the dot of 6.30. ‘I ap­pre­ci­ate I’m not on the list,’ I said, ‘but if a pos­si­bil­ity crops up, would it be okay for me to throw my hat in the ring?’

He glanced furtively to left and right and then leant for­ward and in a voice barely above a whis­per said: ‘I don’t see why not.’

Thurs­day, Fe­bru­ary 21, 1991

HAL­LELU­JAH! A let­ter from the City of Ch­ester Con­ser­va­tive As­so­ci­a­tion invit­ing me to at­tend an in­ter­view.

I told Michèle [Gyles’s wife] and her first re­sponse was: ‘It’s f****** miles away!’ There wasn’t a sec­ond re­sponse.

Satur­day, March 16, 1991

THE ques­tions from the in­ter­view panel were a night­mare. Sev­eral I didn’t un­der­stand at all. One of the first was about farm sub­si­dies. I hadn’t a clue.

Michèle said: ‘Don’t be very dis­ap­pointed if you lose.’

Af­ter­wards, we stood around, laugh­ing ner­vously mak­ing small-talk. Then the lo­cal party chair­man ap­proached: ‘Con­grat­u­la­tions. The vote was decisive. You are to be our prospec­tive par­lia­men­tary can­di­date.’ By Ge­orge, we’ve done it!

Thurs­day, March 21, 1991

Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 11, 1991

A ‘BRIEF­ING’ from Peter Mor­ri­son, the cur­rent Con­ser­va­tive MP for Ch­ester, who is stand­ing down. The con­ver­sa­tion didn’t ex­actly flow, but the gist of it was clear: ‘Write an aw­ful lot of notes. The troops like to get hand­writ­ten notes. Some­times I do 20 a night.

‘If you want my ad­vice, never talk pol­i­tics in the con­stituency. On the great na­tional is­sues, take the moral high ground. On lo­cal is­sues, keep your head down. And any­thing to do with plan­ning, don’t touch.’ THE Party Con­fer­ence is an ex­traor­di­nary phe­nom­e­non. It’s only the ac­tivists who sit through the de­bates. Every­one else is jun­ket­ing, non-stop. I fell into con­ver­sa­tion with one man who was stand­ing as the can­di­date in some god­for­saken north­ern back­wa­ter. ‘Do you live in the con­stituency?’ I asked. ‘Good God no,’ he splut­tered. ‘Hap­pi­ness is the con­stituency in the rear-view mir­ror.’

Wed­nes­day, March 11, 1992

Wed­nes­day, March 18, 1992

The Gen­eral Elec­tion has been called for April 9. TO­DAY on the hus­tings our star at­trac­tion has been Jef­frey Archer. He has be­come a car­i­ca­ture of him­self, thrust­ing his hand out to­wards be­mused tourists and bark­ing: ‘Jef­frey Archer. This is your can­di­date, Gyles Brandreth. Jef­frey Archer. Jef­frey Archer. Jef­frey Archer.’ Michèle was so em­bar­rassed she slipped home.

Fri­day, April 10, 1992

I AM now the Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for the City of Ch­ester.

I’ve won. And it does feel good.

Thurs­day, April 16, 1992

THE Queen came to Ch­ester to­day to be­stow upon us the gift of a Lord May­oralty in a lit­tle cer­e­mony at the Town Hall. When I ar­rived at the Coun­cil Cham­ber it was made clear to me that a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment is of lit­tle sig­nif­i­cance on th­ese oc­ca­sions. I took my al­lot­ted place at the end of the third row back. May­ors past and present, Sher­iffs, Coun­cil­lors and dig­ni­taries by the score, pro­cessed to their places.

Just as the Queen and the Lord Mayor fol­lowed by Prince Philip made to leave, Prince Philip caught my eye. He moved down the line to­wards the cheap seats. ‘What are you do­ing here?’ ‘I’m the Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment.’ ‘Good God, are you re­ally?’

It lasted only mo­ments, but the ef­fect on the Coun­cil­lors was no­tice­able. And grat­i­fy­ing.

Mon­day, April 27, 1992

IT IS dif­fi­cult to de­scribe quite how mis­er­able I feel. The plain truth is, to­day has been my first full day at the House of Com­mons and I have hated it. At 12.30, as ar­ranged, I met Neil and Chris­tine Hamil­ton in Cen­tral Lobby. Neil (now a ju­nior min­is­ter at the DTI) and I set off to bag our places in the cham­ber.

Neil said we should sit in the sec­ond row, just be­hind the Prime Min­is­ter. We re­served our seats and went off to lunch.

At 2.30 we were back in the cham­ber for the elec­tion of the Speaker. The place was packed. I sensed im­me­di­ately that sit­ting, lit­er­ally, at the Prime Min­is­ter’s right ear was wrong, pre­pos­ter­ous, ris­i­ble. The whole amaz­ing process of the elec­tion of the Speaker as good as passed me by.

When the vote was an­nounced — the place erupted. His­tory was be­ing made. The Com­mons had its 155th Speaker and she was the first woman [Betty Boothroyd]. It was quite an oc­ca­sion, but I loathed ev­ery minute of it. And it went on for two hours. At 5pm I made my way up to Com­mit­tee Room 10 for the New Mem­bers’ Meet­ing. As we shuf­fled out, my Whip, David Davis, hauled me from the crowd. ‘I don’t know what you think you were do­ing sit­ting right be­hind the Prime Min­is­ter. Not a very good start. Don’t let it hap­pen again.’

Tues­day, April 28, 1992

AT THE cen­tre of Matthew Par­ris’s po­lit­i­cal sketch in The Times to­day we read: ‘Though Mrs [Ed­wina] Cur­rie re­turns to her post as Madam Lime­light, Gyles Brandreth (C. Ch­ester) who, on his first day, walked straight into the prime TV “dough­nut­ting” space be­hind the PM and sat down, is al­ready mount­ing a chal­lenge.’ This is ex­actly what I don’t want.

Thurs­day, May 7, 1992

MR FLETCHER in the Fees’ Of­fice ad­vises us that we should reg­is­ter Lon­don as our main res­i­dence (which it is any­way) be­cause that’ll work to our ad­van­tage with the mileage al­lowance. For trav­el­ling be­tween Lon­don and the con­stituency it’s 68.2p per mile if your ve­hi­cle is 2,301 cc and above, and 43.4p if you are be­tween 1,301 and 2,300 cc.

Our old Mercedes falls into the lower bracket. Mr Fletcher ex­plained that a num­ber of MPs up­grade their cars to take ad­van­tage of the higher mileage rate. I don’t think we’ll be do­ing that. My salary is go­ing to be just £30,854. Michèle is not amused. ‘You didn’t think about the money, did you? You were so des­per­ate to find your­self a seat you rushed in re­gard­less.’

Wed­nes­day, July 15, 1992

THE pound is sag­ging, the Euro-nuts are ram­pant, Bos­nia’s in cri­sis, but what seems to be ex­er­cis­ing the PM [John Ma­jor] most is the re­bel­lion on the Of­fice Costs Al­lowance. Around 40 of our side voted to in­crease our sec­re­tar­ial al­lowance by about £7,000 more than the Gov­ern­ment wanted.

The PM kept shak­ing his head and, of course, we toad­ies all fol­lowed our leader into the lobby, know­ing that the rebels and the Op­po­si­tion be­tween them would give us the cash we need any­way. The new amount is £39,960. I shall claim the full amount, or near it, and at the same time en­joy the plau­dits that come from hav­ing voted for re­straint.

Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 6, 1992

THE talk of the town is Nor­man Teb­bit’s vul­gar grand­stand­ing barn­storm­ing per­for­mance on Europe. I know he’s suf­fered for the cause of the party (his wife the more so), but there’s some­thing quite nasty about Teb­bit.

Wed­nes­day, De­cem­ber 2, 1992

I HAVE just come from drinks with the Princess of Wales in the Chol­monde­ley Room. Every­one said how won­der­ful she was looking. I thought (un­gal­lantly) that her skin had rather gone to pot: a sort of light peb­ble-dash ef­fect on her beaky nose.

Wed­nes­day, De­cem­ber 9, 1992

AT 3.30 to­day the PM got to his feet to an­nounce the sep­a­ra­tion of the Prince and Princess of Wales. John Smith was com­mend­ably brief. Paddy Ash­down less so.

Tues­day, Fe­bru­ary 9, 1993

I DID my stuff as auc­tion­eer at the Win­ter Ball. It turned out they asked me be­cause they were weary of ‘Jef­frey’s hec­tor­ing tone’.

The best bit of the evening was en­coun­ter­ing David Cameron, spe­cial ad­viser to the Chan­cel­lor.

‘Well done,’ he purred, pink cheeks glow­ing. ‘I hear you’ll soon be join­ing

us at the Trea­sury.’ ‘Re­ally?’ I tried to look as if I knew ex­actly what he was talk­ing about while be­ing far too dis­creet to let on. ‘Tell me more.’

‘PPS to the Fi­nan­cial Sec­re­tary. Can’t be bad.’

Wouldn’t it be won­der­ful if it were true? In case it isn’t, I’ve not men­tioned it to Michèle.

Wed­nes­day, Fe­bru­ary 10, 1993

Mon­day, June 7, 1993

Tues­day, June 15, 1993

JUST as I was wan­der­ing off from the six o’clock vote, Stephen Dor­rell, Fi­nan­cial Sec­re­tary to the Trea­sury, tapped me on the shoul­der. ‘Have you got time for a drink?’

We went to the Smok­ing Room, hap­pily de­serted, and sat in one of the deep, un­comfy leather so­fas by the win­dow. ‘How would you feel about be­ing my PPS?’ I heard my­self say­ing: ‘Well, if you’re go­ing to be a dogs­body you want to be one to a de­cent dog.’ IN the Whips’ Of­fice, I ar­rived for ‘Drinks’ to be asked: ‘What do you know about Gor­don Brown? Is he gay? We need to nail the bug­ger.’

The mood of the meet­ing was that Gor­don ought to be gay, could in­deed be gay, should in fact be gay, but mad­den­ingly we have no ev­i­dence of any kind to sug­gest that he is gay! IT’S 9.30 on Tues­day night, Com­mit­tee Room 10, where we are on Day 6 of our weary trudge through the fetid swamp of the 1993 Fi­nance Bill. Michael Por­tillo is wish­ing he was at the Man­sion House lis­ten­ing to the new Chan­cel­lor of the Ex­che­quer [Kenneth Clarke] mak­ing his de­but.

Michael bought white tie and tails for the oc­ca­sion and then found that Har­riet Hope­less [Har­man — Shadow Chief Sec­re­tary to the Trea­sury] wouldn’t pair. She’s a cow.

(She’s also an in­ex­pli­ca­ble half-inch away from be­ing won­der­fully at­trac­tive. In the right light she’s al­most gor­geous, but then she opens her mouth and sud­denly you re­alise she’s not that pretty, she’s not that bright and — worst sin of all — she has no sense of hu­mour.)

Satur­day, Septem­ber 11, 1993

THIS is so ter­ri­ble I don’t want to write it down. Si­mon [ac­tor Si­mon Cadell, Gyles’s best friend since their school­days] is go­ing to die.

We were in the kitchen hav­ing lunch. The phone went. Michèle an­swered. It was Si­mon. ‘I’m in the Har­ley Street Clinic. It’s not good news. I’m rid­dled with can­cer.’

He was so brave and sev­eral times he tried to be funny. When we had both talked to him (and been won­der­fully Bri­tish and brave, too) we put down the phone and stood in the kitchen cling­ing onto one an­other, sob­bing un­con­trol­lably. It is so aw­ful.

Fri­day, Septem­ber 17, 1993

Fri­day, July 8, 1994

SI­MON is the lead story on sev­eral front pages. ‘I am dy­ing says Hi-de-Hi! star Si­mon’ [he played Jef­frey Fair­brother, hol­i­day camp man­ager, in the BBC com­edy se­ries].

It is so strange to see my best friend’s funny, lovely, lop­sided face, along­side th­ese stark head­lines. It’s an odd (macabre) thing to say, but I think he’ll be quite pleased with the cov­er­age.

I’m go­ing to lose Si­mon. That’s life. And I can’t bear it. ‘THE mil­lion­aire nov­el­ist and Con­ser­va­tive peer Jef­frey Archer is at the cen­tre of an of­fi­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged in­sider share deal­ings in Anglia Tele­vi­sion, of which his wife is a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.’ O Jef­frey! Jef­frey! Jef­frey!

Sun­day, De­cem­ber 4, 1994

WE WERE at the Al­bert Hall as guests of the ever-gen­er­ous Chair­man John Cle­lands and his wife An­nie. John told us that Meat­loaf had just given a con­cert in aid of the Prince’s Trust. Prince Charles ar­rived, not looking for­ward to it. John hadn’t been looking for­ward to it ei­ther, but it turned out to be sen­sa­tional.

Said John: ‘All of Charles’s peo­ple were there hav­ing a great time in aid of the Prince’s Trust. And what did HRH do? He put in his earplugs and looked sad. As he left, he said: “Dread­ful, wasn’t it?”

Tues­day, Jan­uary 10, 1995

A MEET­ING with Hay­den Phillips, Perma- nent Sec­re­tary at the Depart­ment of Na­tional Her­itage, to dis­cuss Hon­ours [Stephen Dor­rell has been ap­pointed Na­tional Her­itage Sec­re­tary and Gyles has trans­ferred to the depart­ment with him].

Af­ter the door had been se­curely closed, he mur­mured: ‘This meet­ing isn’t tak­ing place, you un­der­stand.’ ‘Of course,’ I mur­mured back. Of the great mys­ter­ies of Bri­tish so­ci­ety — how to get a ta­ble at the Ivy, who de­cides who fea­tures in Who’s Who — none is more shrouded in se­crecy than the hon­ours sys­tem.

For much of the meet­ing Hay­den held his notes close to his chest — lit­er­ally — and, when I men­tioned a name, he would glance slyly down at his pa­pers and then purr at me, ‘ Mmm — Alan Bates? Mmm, yes, I think we can help you there.’ He played a funny cat-and-mouse game with a doc­u­ment which he even­tu­ally gave me, mur­mur­ing silk­ily: ‘I shouldn’t, I re­ally shouldn’t . . . but why not?’ I pre­sume he had in­tended to give me the pa­per — ‘Hon­ours In Con­fi­dence’ — all along.

‘I felt the “K” for Robert Stephens was right, didn’t you? I saw his Lear and thought “Yes, yes.” ’ ‘Isn’t Don­ald Sin­den on the list?’ He glanced down at his crib-sheet. ‘Mmm, it works on the es­ca­la­tor prin­ci­ple. You can be on the es­ca­la­tor for a year or two be­fore you reach the top. I don’t think Don­ald Sin­den’s been on the es­ca­la­tor in my time.’

‘I think he’s one for the es­ca­la­tor, don’t you?’

( Be­fore he dies, Si­mon wants to see Don achieve his ‘K’ and if it can be done, it will be.)

Tues­day, July 18, 1995

I HAVE mas­tered the art of arriving at a Buck­ing­ham Palace Gar­den Party. The real time to reach the main gates is ex­actly 3.53pm. The riff-raff are al­ready in­side, so you have the plea­sure of scrunch­ing your way alone across the gravel, past the guards­men, un­der the arch, across the de­serted square, up the red-car­peted stairs and through.

Pro­ceed­ing at a leisurely pace, tak­ing in the pic­tures, paus­ing to ad­mire the porce­lain, you will ar­rive at the bay win­dows lead­ing out onto the gar­den at 3.59 on the dot. It’s too late for the flunkies to push you out onto the lawn to join the crowds. You’ve

got to stay where you are, in pole po­si­tion, for Her Majesty’s ar­rival un­der your very nose as the clock strikes four.

Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 29, 1995

A SUM­MONS to the Chief Whip’s of­fice. He perched on one sofa. I perched on the other. ‘The Prime Min­is­ter hopes you will ac­cept your first min­is­te­rial ap­point­ment by join­ing the Whips’ Of­fice. Lunch?’

Satur­day, De­cem­ber 2, 1995

MICHÈLE said to me: ‘I hope you’re happy now?’ She knows that we’re go­ing to lose the elec­tion, that’s why she’s con­tent for me to stand again. This could be my one and only chance to be in gov­ern­ment.

Thurs­day, Fe­bru­ary 29, 1996

I WENT to see Si­mon at the Har­ley Street Clinic. It can only be a mat­ter of days now. He has been so brave. He was too tired to talk, so I just bur­bled on, hugged him and kissed his funny bristly lop­sided face and came away.

Thurs­day, March 7, 1996

SI­MON died last night. He was my old­est and best friend.

Fri­day, March 8, 1996

SI­MON gets a won­der­ful press. He claimed he never read his no­tices, but I think he’d have been pleased with th­ese.

Sun­day, March 10, 1996

DROVE to Hon­ing­ton for Si­mon’s fu­neral. I read the les­son without tears or a crack in my voice — which is re­ally all I wanted to achieve. The church is small and the nave quite nar­row and when I walked back to my pew, I some­how brushed the cof­fin — and thought im­me­di­ately of Pa. When he died I re­mem­ber my mother stroking his cof­fin as it was car­ried into the church. She stroked it so ten­derly. I’ve had that pic­ture in my head all day.

Wed­nes­day, July 3, 1996

WE’RE not too happy with the PM be­cause of his pro­posed Holy-Joe re­sponse to the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Se­nior Salaries Re­view Body.

It looks as if the SSRB are wisely sug­gest­ing a £9,000 hike for back­benchers (up to £43,000 from £34,000) and what amounts to a sweet £17,000 more for min­is­ters. This is 26 per cent plus-plus. The PM wants us to set­tle for 3 per cent. We want the money — we par­tic­u­larly want it now be­cause it’ll mean en­hanced pen­sions when we all lose our seats.

Thurs­day, July 11, 1996

AT around ten past mid­night the deed was done. I am now £17,000 bet­ter off. The PM is se­ri­ously dis­pleased.

Mon­day, De­cem­ber 16, 1996

THE evening be­gan with the Chief Whip’s Christ­mas party at No 12. Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael He­sel­tine nod­ded a win­try smile. His wife Anne was rather more giv­ing. I em­braced her and in­tro­duced her to Michèle. Anne man­aged a good 45 sec­onds of tin­kly charm be­fore mov­ing on. (M said to me later: ‘Don’t bother, re­ally don’t bother. They’re not in­ter­ested in you, and they’re cer­tainly not in­ter­ested in me.’)

Con­trast­ing He­sel­tine’s com­mon touch with John Ma­jor’s is fas­ci­nat­ing. The PM ar­rived and the first per­son he saw was the Chief Whip’s as­sis­tant sec­re­tary Sarah Box.

He clapped his hands with gen­uine de­light. She gig­gled and was thrilled. He took her hands in his, they spun round to­gether. He kissed her. The PM is at­trac­tive to women in a way He­sel­tine (su­per­fi­cially more hand­some, a self-styled hero) could never be.

Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 28, 1997

THE Wir­ral South by-elec­tion re­sult is en­tirely pre­dictable: a 17 per cent swing to Labour. We’re doomed.

Tues­day, March 18, 1997

AT yes­ter­day’s Cab­i­net, the PM an­nounced the elec­tion would be on May 1.

Thurs­day, May 1, 1997

THE Ch­ester re­sult: Con: 19,253. Lab: 29,806. Lib Dem: 5,353. Ref­er­en­dum: 1,487. Loony and A. N. Other: 358. End of era. Ch­ester RIP.

Fri­day, May 2, 1997

MA­JOR has gone. Mr Blair has ar­rived and al­ready the mes­sianic fer­vour is a lit­tle too rich for my taste. And as for Cherie . . .

Sun­day, May 18, 1997

THIS is per­fect. We are in Si­cily, and the sun is shin­ing. I am ly­ing on a deckchair by the swim­ming pool. It is 11 o’clock and my first cap­puc­cino of the day has just been served. M booked this for us dur­ing the cam­paign. She knew we’d lose. (She pro­posed putting our flat in Ch­ester up for sale dur­ing the cam­paign, too. Se­ri­ously.) She is very happy with the out­come of the elec­tion.

Ev­ery­body is. Bri­tain is awash with hope. It’ll all go wrong, of course. But that’s not some­thing that you can say out loud at the mo­ment.

Fri­day, May 30, 1997

I AM on the train to Leeds, to record Count­down — six episodes. (And, yes, madam, since you ask, they do feed you the words through an ear­piece. But, no, I won’t be wear­ing any more wacky jumpers.)

I am so lucky. Count­down called im­me­di­ately af­ter the elec­tion. I have a con­tract for a new novel. I have work — and plenty of it. Many of my col­leagues have noth­ing. Peo­ple think there are ‘di­rec­tor­ships’ and all sorts of good­ies await­ing ex-MPs. Not so.

What use is an ex-Tory MP to any­one? It’s fine for the few who are fa­mous — e.g. Michael Por­tillo — but most of my for­mer col­leagues are shop-soiled, un­known, un­fash­ion­able and the wrong side of 50.

Sun­day, Au­gust 31, 1997

I CAME down into the kitchen to make the early-morn­ing tea and turned on the tele­vi­sion and heard the news. Princess Diana is dead. I called Michèle and we just stood there watch­ing. We just stood there. It was quite dif­fi­cult to take in.


IT’S wall-to-wall Diana. Blair has been on the box and bril­liant — if you like that sort of thing. William [Hague] botched it ut­terly. I am sorry for Diana, of course. And for her sons. This is a tragedy — but it is their tragedy, not mine. I can­not say that I am feel­ing this per­son­ally as the rest of the world seems to be do­ing. I am out of step with the rest of mankind.

Satur­day, Septem­ber 6, 1997

WE sat in the kitchen and watched Diana’s fu­neral. Tony Blair’s over­e­mo­tional read­ing of the les­son was an em­bar­rass­ment, but other than that it all worked.


IN­TER­EST­ING call just now. I was sur­prised to see Prince Philip in the for­mal fu­neral pro­ces­sion, but I have now learnt why he was there. Prince Charles and Charles Spencer were ex­pected to walk, with the boys, but it seems that Prince Harry and, in par­tic­u­lar, Prince William were ini­tially re­luc­tant.

The Duke of Ed­in­burgh, who had not planned to walk (he is merely the ex-fa­ther-in-law, af­ter all), said to William: ‘If you don’t walk, you may re­gret it later. I think you should do it. If I walk, will you walk with me?’

Tues­day, De­cem­ber 9, 1997

AT THE Gar­rick Club lunch to cel­e­brate Don­ald Sin­den’s knight­hood I sat next to Mary Archer. She was amaz­ingly jolly, much less the ice maiden than she used to be.

I still can’t fathom the mar­riage. She gives him cred­i­bil­ity, with the free­dom to do as he pleases, but what does she get out of it? Money? A more ex­cit­ing ride? It’s not a mere mar­riage of con­ve­nience: when they are to­gether they do still seem to be in love: they cer­tainly en­joy each other’s com­pany. My psy­chi­a­trist friend says: ‘They share a life-lie.’

Satur­day, April 18, 1998

I AM on the plane to Mi­ami, on my way to the Ba­hamas. We are join­ing Sandy Gilmour [a friend of Gyles’s] and friends: the house be­longs to his cousin, the Duke of Aber­corn. The Mount­bat­tens have their hol­i­day home next door.

Satur­day, April 25, 1998

MICHÈLE says this has been her best-ever hol­i­day. It is idyl­lic here: pale sand, blue sea, clear skies, and easy com­pany. The house is sim­ple, but just right. We are in the room Prince Philip uses. They say he’s to be seen here, walk­ing along the beach with the Duchess of Aber­corn, hand in hand. We say: why not?

Sun­day, Novem­ber 21, 1999

IT’S all over. ‘Jef­frey Archer de­stroyed’ is the Sun­day Tele­graph head­line. The News of the World has nailed him as a liar who was pre­pared to com­mit per­jury in his li­bel action in 1986. The feel­ing is he’ll end up in gaol. Three to five years they reckon.

Michèle says I have been naïve. ‘He’s got self-de­cep­tion writ­ten through him like the word Black­pool in a stick of rock.’

The pa­pers are dev­as­tat­ing. The col­lapse is com­plete. There is no bounc­ing back from this. Be­tween 2pm and 5pm yes­ter­day I man­aged to write a 1,000-word piece for The Sun­day Tele­graph.

I am go­ing to write to Jef­frey now.

Mon­day, Novem­ber 29, 1999

A HAND­WRIT­TEN note from Mary Archer, in re­ply to my let­ter to Jef­frey:

Dear Gyles, YOU may choose to hunt with the pack or sym­pa­thise with the quarry. You can­not do both. Yours sin­cerely,


EX­TRACTED from Some­thing Sen­sa­tional To Read In The Train by Gyles Brandreth, to be pub­lished by John Mur­ray on Oc­to­ber 29 at £25. © Gyles Brandreth. To or­der a copy (p&p free) for £22.50 call 0845 155 0720.

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