Her Majesty’s Loyal Press Corps are on the verge of revolt. Minutes of a recent meeting of the Press Gallery Committee - seen by The Spectator - show that a Republican motion to ditch the Loyal Toast (in which Westminster hacks and assembled guests, from the PM down, raise a glass to the British sovereign) is being considered.
Minutes from the July meeting of the Committee state:
(ii) Loyal Toast: the committee considered the proposal to discontinue the loyal toast at Press Gallery lunches which had been deferred from a previous meeting. After discussion it was agreed that the chairman should take soundings amongst colleagues and report back to the next meeting, when a decision would be taken.
Westminster insiders are horrified. The Loyal Toast is a cherished and honoured tradition: everybody always thought it was just a bit fun. But the worthies have taken against it. One source on the committee blamed a ‘bunch of pinko hippies’ for the move. Mr S can reveal that it is the brainchild of BBC producer Barney Jones. Jones also works for Andrew Marr – who coincidentally makes a fortune out of fawning documentaries about the Royals.