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Current PM may not be one of Rees-Mogg’s favourites

17 March, 2018

Andrew Gimson, left, with Jacob and Helen Rees-Mogg

FORMER Telegraph parliamentary sketch writer Andrew Gimson may not be plodding the corridors of power, looking each day for a witticism tossed his way to liven up the pages of the Tory broadsheet the following morning, but he’s still a draw among politicos.

Diary popped along to the launch of his new book, Gimson’s Prime Ministers, a highly-recommended read that offers pen sketches of all those who have resided in Number 10 in an engaging and witty way.

Slurping on the free booze and avoiding the gaze of newspaper diarists eager for a scoop were the likes of Jo Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Cartoonist Martin Rowson, who provided wonderful sketches that were on display at the party hosted in the foyer of the Guardian’s headquarters in King’s Cross, said he and Andrew were “on tour”, zig-zagging across the country to speak about the book. He joked that they were the perfect double act.

“He is the straight man. I am the cool one,” he said.

“Though, of course, I am not really cool… except I am when I am standing next to Andrew.”

Andrew is married to Camden Labour councillor Sally Gimson. And at the party a host of worthies from their neighbourhood came to say hello.

There was his neighbour Michael Palin and retired ITN correspondent Richard Linley (recently awarded an MBE) in the crowd.

And it was interesting to see how many of this solid gang of Labour supporters politely avoided eye contact, looked at their feet and shuffled uncomfortably as the glamour boy of the right sashayed in.

So who were Rees-Mogg’s favourite PMs?

“Funnily enough, I once played this game with my father over a bottle of champagne at the House of Lords,” he told Diary. “Our answer was Pitt, Pitt and Gladstone in the 19th century, and Baldwin, Churchill and Thatcher for the 20th.”

That he did not name-check any from the recent past, including the current leader of the Conservative Party, suggests his sense of humour and mischief is not as pronounced as we have been led to believe.

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