Steerpike Steerpike

Champagne Tories, and a ring of truth from Bell

It was Eighties night at Mark’s Club on Thursday evening for the launch of Tory PR guru Lord Bell’s memoirs. Some refreshing honesty from the spin man, who admitted ‘I don’t know why I wrote this book.’ A who’s-who of Tory peers, including Lords Chadlington, Archer and Lloyd Webber, knocked back champagne, with Michael Portillo resplendent in at least three shades of pink. Meanwhile Rocco Forte chased Christina Odone around the room, and Andrew Mitchell looked glum in the corner.

Bell may not know why he wrote the book, but at least it’s been an eye opener for him. In his speech at the soiree, he said:

‘James Henderson, who works for me [at Bell Pottinger], decided to give everyone in the company a book which [was] personalised – a very nice thought if you don’t have to do it – it took me three and a half hours today to sign all these books and to discover who works for me. Some rather strange names, and rather odd spellings of names.’

Of the current cabinet, only Iain Duncan Smith made it. For the rest, Bell sent a very blunt message to the Prime Minister and the Tories:

‘Two thirds of the country want a centre-right government, and if we carry on like we are we’re going to end up with a centre-left one, which does seem rather clumsy to me. You would think that someone might find a way to get all those people who believe in good conservative values to actually have something to vote for.’

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