ANNA MIKHAILOVA: Will Sir Keir’s biography find his Northern soul?


Will Sir Keir’s biography find his Northern soul? Skeletons in the Labour leader’s closet will start rattling, writes ANNA MIKHAILOVA

Skeletons in Sir Keir Starmer’s closet will start rattling with the news that several writers are planning biographies of him.

Lord Ashcroft alerted the Labour leader’s office last week that he’s started digging, I can reveal.

A source close to Sir Keir told me ‘quite a few’ others had registered an interest – but not yet Tom Bower, who you’d have expected to be Ashcroft’s main rival, having already given three other Labour leaders a skewering.

Skeletons in Sir Keir Starmer’s closet will start rattling with the news that several writers are planning biographies of him

Former Tory deputy chairman Ashcroft will undoubtedly shine a light on Sir Keir’s times as a lawyer in Doughty Street Chambers – recently better known for Glamazons Amal Clooney and Jennifer Robinson, actress Amber Heard’s barrister and confidante.

He’ll also want to probe Sir Keir’s involvement in phone-hacking cases while Director of Public Prosecutions. There’s also the tricky relationship with Unite, traditionally Labour’s biggest donor, which hasn’t given a penny since Sir Keir became leader, according to the latest Electoral Commission records.

Ashcroft has a formidable track record as a political biographer – his book on David Cameron sparked frenzied debate with the claim that the former PM, as a student, ‘inserted a private part of his anatomy’ into the mouth of a dead pig during an initiation ceremony at a debauched Oxford University society.

As for the title of his Starmer biog, inspiration could come from Sir Keir’s recent appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs when he chose the Northern Soul classic Out On The Floor by Dobie Gray, recalling doing ‘flips, spins and back-drops’ in his youth.

Flips And Spins sounds great – or another soul anthem Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.

Netflix loses Crown for one loyal Tory…

Tory peer Michael Forsyth, who served so loyally in Margaret Thatcher’s government, has cancelled his subscription to Netflix. When the digital streaming giant asked why, he simply wrote: ‘The Crown.’ 

Yet it was not the pantomime portrayal of the Iron Lady that got the Lord’s goat but Prince Charles’s passionless courtship of Lady Di. An invitation to Highgrove (pictured) surely follows. 

It was not the pantomime portrayal of the Iron Lady that got the Lord¿s goat but Prince Charles¿s passionless courtship of Lady Di. An invitation to Highgrove (pictured) surely follows

It was not the pantomime portrayal of the Iron Lady that got the Lord’s goat but Prince Charles’s passionless courtship of Lady Di. An invitation to Highgrove (pictured) surely follows

As millions prepare to go into a strict tier 2, where pubs can sell booze only with a ‘substantial meal’, MPs are wondering: ‘What constitutes a substantial meal?’ 

On one Tory WhatsApp group, an MP referred to a 1965 court case about two men found consuming ale and sandwiches at a hotel bar after hours. 

Justices ruled their meal was ‘substantial’ because their sarnies included pickles and beetroot. Now you know.

It’s never a surprise to see former leaders re-writing history but Theresa May headlining an event called ‘Celebrating Perseverance’ is perhaps a step too far. 

You can’t fault her persistence when peddling her EU Withdrawal Agreement to a hung Parliament, but the word perseverance suggests success was achieved after the struggle. 

May has had more luck recently on the speaking circuit. Although her address to a US society was postponed, she persisted – reaping £45,000 for the rescheduled speech. 

Labour’s Shadow Defence Minister Khalid Mahmood has been given a flogging by Parliament’s sleaze watchdog after failing to declare a £2,000-a-month job with a think-tank for nearly a year.

It’s not the first time the Birmingham Perry Barr MP has broken the rules. It took him about two years to repay £8,000 he owed the taxpayer after overspending his MP budget – just the man to keep the Opposition’s eye on the too-cosy world of defence procurement.

Labour¿s Shadow Defence Minister Khalid Mahmood has been given a flogging by Parliament¿s sleaze watchdog after failing to declare a £2,000-a-month job with a think-tank for nearly a year

Labour’s Shadow Defence Minister Khalid Mahmood has been given a flogging by Parliament’s sleaze watchdog after failing to declare a £2,000-a-month job with a think-tank for nearly a year

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