Hugh hasn’t had a con­sort as ador­ing as Chuka since Liz Hur­ley!

Scottish Daily Mail - - The Brexmas Election - HENRY DEEDES

AS the old joke goes, one’s a trea­cle-voiced smoothie whose silken charms and movie star good looks can make even the sternest ma­trons go gooey at the kneecaps. The other is Hugh Grant.

That was my cheeky thought af­ter Lib Dem Chuka Umunna’s team bagged the ac­tor to help their man cam­paign­ing on the doorsteps and de­liv­er­ing leaflets yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

Chuka and Hugh walk­ing the streets to­gether. What a prospect! Any bored house­wives in the West­min­ster con­stituency loung­ing in their frilly neg­ligees must have as­sumed that Christ­mas had ar­rived early.

An erst­while un­po­lit­i­cal crea­ture – his deep dis­re­gard for the pop­u­lar Press apart – fop­pish Grant’s aim is to Stop Boris. Like the Lib­eral Democrats, he wants Brexit halted forth­with.

The comely pair agreed to meet the me­dia shortly af­ter lunch in a square off Lam­beth Bridge that is lined with shiny, ex­pen­sive, new-build apart­ment blocks.

Join­ing us were a gag­gle of 30 plac­ard­wav­ing vol­un­teers, their teeth chat­ter­ing in the win­ter frost. A de­cent turnout for a parky Mon­day af­ter­noon, but then I suspect some vot­ers had merely come for a spot of celebrity rub­ber-neck­ing.

‘Are you lo­cal?’ one was asked. ‘Sort of. I’m from North Lon­don,’ the mid­dleaged dear replied. ‘But my gym is quite near here.’

Like all di­vas, Grant and Chuka had kept them wait­ing a bit. Bad traf­fic around Trafal­gar Square, ap­par­ently. Ei­ther that or the gear­box in the ac­tor’s As­ton Martin had been play­ing up.

They ar­rived with the Lib Dems’ Lon­don may­oral can­di­date Siob­han Benita, who de­liv­ered a warm-up speech. She was gid­dier than a teeny­bop­per at a One Direc­tion con­cert.

‘I’ve been told not to swoon,’ she tit­tered, giv­ing the Love Ac­tu­ally star a Mar­tine Mc­Cutcheon-style flutter of the eye­lids.

Grant graced his lat­est ad­mirer with his best Hol­ly­wood grin. ‘How lovely it could be if you could be our next Lon­don mayor,’ he purred.

Out oozed the charm as, in his John­nie Bo­den cat­a­logue chic and with a lined face lac­quered from a little re­cent win­ter sun, he told us that he wasn’t usu­ally one for get­ting in­volved in pol­i­tics.

But these were desperate times, he sug­gested, be­cause Boris Johnson had ex­pelled any de­cent or ‘half-sane’ mem­bers from the Con­ser­va­tive Party.

‘I don’t mean to sound overly dra­matic,’ he said, arch­ing an eye­brow, ‘but then I sup­pose that is my job.’ The au­di­ence, by now putty in his hands, chuck­led along gamely.

Chuka, mean­while, was giv­ing his new buddy sev­eral ad­mir­ing side-eyes. Not since El­iz­a­beth Hur­ley hung from Grant’s arm in that skimpy, safety-pinned Ver­sace

dress has he had a more ador­ing con­sort by his side.

Chuka told his sup­port­ers they had ‘ten days to snatch vic­tory from the jaws of de­feat’. He said he’d been greatly en­cour­aged by the num­ber of peo­ple who’d told him re­cently that they were ‘not vot­ing for that other lot’ – ie, Labour or Con­ser­va­tive. I wasn’t sure, though, that this sounded like the most re­sound­ing Lib Dem en­dorse­ment.

Be­fore leav­ing, Grant hap­pily took ques­tions from the Press.

His ideal out­come was a hung par­lia­ment, one where MPs have con­trol over the govern­ment. This sounded well-mean­ing enough, though re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence of the same sug­gests noth­ing would ever get done.

Had he ever con­sid­ered try­ing to be­come an MP? No. He ad­mit­ted be­ing too ill-dis­ci­plined for party pol­i­tics as he was too pleased with him­self to toe the line.

WouLD he cheer­fully pay more tax? ‘Yes,’ the ac­tor (es­ti­mated to be worth £60mil­lion) replied with­out hes­i­ta­tion. He ad­mit­ted the word ‘cheer­fully’ might be push­ing it, though. He went on to com­plain that he felt there was a mis­con­cep­tion that he was some sort of non-dom.

But he made it clear that he has lived in Bri­tain for 59 years and felt he had handed the Trea­sury his fair share.

By now, ev­ery­one was get­ting chilly. Time to go and knock on a few more doors.

This elec­tion cam­paign isn’t Hugh Grant’s first time at the doorstep, ap­par­ently.

He once sold fire ex­tin­guish­ers door-to-door. ‘I was very good at it,’ he as­sured us chirpily be­fore he and his co-star Chuka waltzed off to­gether into the early sun­set.

Ready for our close-ups: Chuka Umunna and Hugh Grant with vol­un­teers yes­ter­day

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