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Craig Oliver in the firing line at All Out War launch

To the Policy Exchange for the launch of All Out War, Tim Shipman’s tome on the EU referendum. As the Sunday Times political editor welcomed ‘Bremoaners, Brexiteers, esteemed guests and members of David Cameron’s honours list’ to the launch, he spoke of his relief that there were people present who hated each other more than they hated him.

As guests including Michael Gove and Stronger In’s Will Straw sipped on Brexit themed cocktails (with Bloody Michael and Jean Claude Drunker among the drinks that didn’t make the cut), Arron Banks attempted to tout his own Brexit book — the Bad Boys of Brexit — to partygoers, including Gove.


Looking back on the referendum, Shipman remembered the Halcyon days when George Osborne, Theresa May and Nicky Morgan were on the same side, and paid tribute to Labour and the Lib Dems at Stronger In for showing the Tories how to lose an election. He praised those now working together in the aftermath, with a hat tip to Vote Leave’s Paul Stephenson and ex-Cameron adviser Ameet Gill who have just set up Hanbury Strategy to ‘advise companies on the mess Paul helped create and Ameet failed to prevent’.

However, it was an absent comrade who received the most ire. Step forward Craig Oliver. Guests laughed as Arabella Pike — publishing director at William Collins — said Shipman’s book had managed to dominate the news on the weekend Cameron’s former director of comms launched his rival effort Unleashing Demons — a scoop from Shipman involving Philip Hammond and Theresa May meant Oliver’s book was ‘blown out the water’.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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