Rachel johnson

‘I’ve had two totally successful marriages’: Stanley Johnson interviewed

If anything could make me feel sorry for Boris Johnson, it’s meeting his father, Stanley. Before we met, he sent me a great list of press cuttings about his appearances with the Extinction Rebellion campaign, and ordered me to watch his recent reality show Celebrity Hunted on Channel 4 and read his latest novel, Kompromat. (The former, where celebrities become ‘fugitives’ and go on the run, was excruciating. But the novel — soon to be retitled The Brexit Conspiracy — is good fun, containing thinly disguised portraits of Putin, Trump, Murdoch, and also an ex-London mayor ‘whose ebullient exterior concealed a razor-sharp mind and a pronounced streak of political cunning’.

Diary – 15 August 2019

I lay low during the ‘season’ as I can’t think what to say to people any more. I went to only two summer parties, a personal worst for me: Lady Annabel Goldsmith’s annual gold-plater in Richmond, and Jenni Russell and Stephen Lambert’s Notting Hill do, where I found myself introducing David Cameron to Seumas Milne. ‘You were at Eton and you went to Winchester,’ I said, as if the pair were shy teenagers at the Feathers Ball before the snogging, ‘so you two should get on like a house on fire!’ Seumas tried to recruit me in 2017 but I never came across. ‘Which party should I enter as a

Johnson enters the race

The European elections are shaping up to be a colourful affair with both the Brexit Party and pro-EU Change UK revealing a spate of new candidates this morning. Along with Jacob Rees-Mogg’s sister Annunziata, libertarian Claire Fox will stand for Nigel Farage’s party. Meanwhile on the Remain side, a member of a political dynasty has decided to try and win election as an MP for Change UK. Step forward Rachel Johnson. Johnson is to follow in the footsteps of her father Stanley and brothers Boris and Jo by entering the political arena. The writer has revealed she will stand as a European election candidate in the South West region for Change

My holiday hell with a gaggle of raging Remainiacs

I’m writing this on the easyJet flight back from Marrakech, where I have just spent a long weekend as a house guest of Rachel Johnson. She had managed to secure a marvellous villa by the name of Ezzahra, about a 20-minute drive from the airport, complete with a pool, spa and paddle tennis court. There were 12 of us in all, five couples and two men travelling solo — Harry Mount, the editor of the Oldie, and Mark Palmer, the travel editor of the Daily Mail. Harry, Mark and I quickly discovered we were the only Leavers in a nest of die-hard Remainers. Now, it will not come as news

Diary – 16 November 2017

Long letter from the High Mistress of St Paul’s Girls’ School, addressing me as ‘Dear Old Paulina’ (I thought we were never ‘Old Paulinas’, merely ‘Paulinas’ till the bitter end, but I will let the solecism pass). It informs me that fellow former pupils have been in touch to report sexual abuse when I was there ‘between the 1970s and the 1990s’. The letter invites #metoo to name and shame teachers — who must be well into their dotage if not dead — while insisting that the numera una assoluta girls’ school in the world is now a sterile, predator-free zone. The letter is spattered with every compulsory clunky current

Toby Young

It’s a jungle in there, Stanley

Crikey Moses! Stanley Johnson has been cast as the token pensioner in the new series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! At 77, he will be 27 years older than the next oldest person in the jungle-based reality show, 50-year-old ex-footballer Dennis Wise. He cheerfully admits he has never watched the programme before, which comes as no surprise. If he had known what he was letting himself in for, would he have signed up? I don’t just mean the routine indignities, such as chewing on turkey testicles or washing down a plate of live cockroaches with a beaker of blended emu liver. Or the discomfort of enduring a

Is Rachel Johnson becoming a Corbynista?

During the snap election, Boris Johnson was given reason to blush when his sister Rachel came out for the Liberal Democrats. Despite having always voted Conservative previously, the Mail on Sunday columnist said the party’s Brexit stance had meant she had no choice but to defect. Since then, Johnson has written in The Spectator of the need for a new centrist party – ideally headed up by Gary Lineker, the people’s snowflake. However, is Johnson actually considering another political defection? Mr S only asks after his mole reports a curious exchange between Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn at last night’s GQ Men of the Year awards. At the champagne-fuelled bash at

Gary Lineker to the rescue

Last month, Rachel Johnson managed to create a mini furore when it transpired that she had joined the Liberal Democrats. Given that the Mail on Sunday columnist has only ever voted Conservative in elections, the news came as a surprise to many — not least her brother Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary. But has Rachel already got cold feet about her new home? In this week’s issue of The Spectator, Johnson gives reason to believe that she’s not completely loyal to the Liberal Democrats. She says that she recently got talking to Gary Lineker — aka ‘the people’s snowflake’ — who she decided is the ‘only proper opposition now’: ‘At

Boris Johnson’s sister joins the Lib Dems

Well, this is a bit awkward. The Johnson family has a long history of Conservatism. This holds true today, with Boris Johnson is the Foreign Secretary and his brother Jo is a Conservative MP. Up until now, their sister Rachel was broadly supportive of the party — voting ‘nothing but Tory’ in general elections as ‘a matter of family duty’. So, it’s slightly embarrassing for Boris that his sister has now jumped ship. Despite her brother’s big role in shaping the country’s future, the Mail on Sunday columnist has joined the Liberal Democrats. As a Remain campaigner during the referendum, Johnson is thought to have made the decision over concerns about Brexit.

Rachel Johnson slaps down her brother over Trump’s visa ban

After Theresa May’s seemingly successful visit to the White House, the Prime Minister has been accused of failing to stand up to President Trump over his visa ban. What’s more, No 10 has said there are no plans to cancel his state visit despite growing protests over the event. Now the Foreign Secretary is also under fire. Although Boris Johnson has received some praise for his announcement that British dual citizens (of the seven countries on the ban list) can visit America, it’s not enough to please his sister Rachel. After Boris declared that the government would ‘protect the rights and freedoms of UK nationals home and abroad’, his sister stepped

Gender equality low on the agenda in the Johnson household

Spare a thought for Rachel Johnson. After the Mail on Sunday columnist was invited to speak on gender equality at this year’s Tory conference as part of a Bright Blue debate, she thought that with her brothers — Boris and Jo — and father Stanley in town, it wasn’t entirely out of question that one would come and watch her. Alas it wasn’t to be. Speaking at the event, Johnson revealed that her father had declined an offer after discovering the subject of the talk was gender equality: ‘My father is here and two of my brothers are here and my father rung me about an hour ago and he said “cup

Johnson family react to Michael Gove’s elimination – ‘Gove won’t tear us apart again’

After Michael Gove turned on his one-time ally Boris Johnson to pursue his own leadership ambitions, the Justice Secretary was accused of treachery and betrayal by BoJo’s many allies. So, the news that Gove has been knocked out of the Tory leadership contest today will no doubt come as some comfort to those in the Johnson camp. In fact as soon as the news was announced, Boris’s sister Rachel Johnson took to Twitter. In a tweet that suggests she is taking the news A.OK, Johnson said that Gove would at least no longer be able to cause division: However, Johnson seems to have already got cold feet about her comment. The tweet was deleted

Don’t be jealous of my brother’s whopping tax return

With hindsight maybe it was silly for me to bleat, ‘As everyone knows, the Johnsons are neither posh nor rich’ on Newsnight just before my older brother published his tax returns showing the impressive sums he’s made in journalism and publishing. I can only imagine how the antlers of rival 12-point stags such as Niall Ferguson and Andrew Roberts must have drooped as they calculated how many copies the full-time Mayor and MP and bestselling ‘popular historian’ must have shifted to earn royalties running into the hundreds of thousands. Having heard him toot about his eye-watering advance for his forthcoming Shakespeare, I felt only admiration that he paid almost a

Jo Johnson on the debate dividing the nation: ‘it’s brother against brother’

While Boris Johnson is firmly behind the Out campaign in the EU referendum, his father Stanley, sister Rachel and brother Jo are all backing Remain. So, has the difference in opinion led to any family conflict? Last night at a French embassy Jo — the minister for science and universities —  appeared at first to hint at such problems. He gave a speech, which he began in French, on the great row now gripping the nation and tearing families apart: ‘Everybody must declare their position. Families are divided; brother against brother… I speak of course of the crucial debate for the French language; whether or not to abandon the circumflex.’ Johnson went on

Rachel Johnson lifts the lid on Boris’s Brexit deliberations: tennis, frozen lasagne and Nigel Farage

This week Sarah Vine used her Daily Mail column to reveal the details of the roast lamb supper her husband Michael Gove used to plot a move to back Brexit with Boris Johnson. Now the Mayor of London’s sister Rachel Johnson has gone one better and lifted the lid on her brother’s subsequent Brexit deliberations. Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Rachel says that it was not at the dinner, but on the Saturday after that Boris finally made up his mind to support the Leave camp. She says that last weekend she found her brother in turmoil in an Oxfordshire farmhouse — frying sausages and hammering at his laptop: ‘Last Saturday I drove through the sleet

Listen: Is the BBC a national treasure? With Melvyn Bragg, James Purnell and Rachel Johnson

Last night Spectator Events hosted a discussion at Church House, Westminster about whether the BBC really is a national treasure. Speakers included Melvyn Bragg, author and broadcaster, James Purnell, director of strategy and digital at the BBC, Andrew Bridgen MP, Meirion Jones, investigative journalist, Robin Aitken, author of Can we trust the BBC? and Rachel Johnson, author and broadcaster. The discussion was hosted by Andrew Neil. Both entertaining and informative, the discussion touched upon a number of different areas, including whether the BBC should reduce its print content, whether a ‘liberal’ bias exists and whether the BBC can actually be reformed. At the end of the discussion, the audience was asked whether people wanted

Low life | 2 July 2015

Rachel Johnson, in last week’s Spectator diary, says that her husband says she only writes a book in order to have a launch party. Me too. My thoughts are too disordered to write a book from scratch, but now and then someone offers to publish a collection of these columns and I, fantasising about a party with all my pals there, agree to it. Times must have changed for the publishing industry since Short Books put out the last Low life collection and gave me a terrific launch party, because the publisher of this latest collection stated with finality (once the book was done and dusted) that publishers no longer

The Spectator summer party, in pictures

With a Tory majority to celebrate, the Cabinet turned out in full force for this year’s Spectator summer party. As David Cameron and George Osborne caught up with their old head of strategy Steve Hilton, Sajid Javid and Michael Fallon enjoyed the British heatwave. Harriet Harman was there on behalf of Labour, with the departing deputy leader sharing a tender moment with Boris Johnson in the garden. Johnson meanwhile was on fighting form over the Heathrow expansion recommendations. However, he also found time to say some kind words about his brother Jo Johnson’s plan to change the current university grade system to put a stop to students who ‘coast within the 2:1 band‘.


Jo Johnson takes aim at those who ‘coast within the 2.1 band’

This morning Jo Johnson gave a speech in which he outlined his recommendations for the way in which universities grade students. The new science and universities minister suggested that they rethink the current honours system and instead have a ‘dual running’ with regards degree classifications and grade point averages. If his idea does become a reality and there is less of a focus on degree classifications, Mr S suspects it will be music to the ears of Jo’s siblings, Boris and Rachel. Jo was the only one of the three to achieve a first class degree from Oxford, an achievement which was reportedly a cause of envy for Boris, who along with his sister Rachel, only managed

Diary – 25 June 2015

My husband says I only write books in order to have a launch party. Not so. I also write books in order to give the author speech at the party. To this end, I hired a wild warehouse under the Westway flyover. Faced with a stream of emails from PAs asking things like whether vegan canapés would be served, and a direct call from financier Peter Soros asking whether 7 p.m. to midnight meant dinner or ‘cocktail prolongé’, I replied that it was BYOB — buy your own burgers. The great, the good, the bad, the ugly and the US ambassador streamed in to drink my wine out of plastic beakers.