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 to an Oxfordshire farmhouse at the end of a lane to try to change the course of history. I was armed only with a frozen lasagne and a bag of lettuce. Boris was holed up on his own there almost incommunicado, hammering away at his hot laptop, frying sausages, while the world waited to see which way he would jump.’
With Boris swaying towards Leave, Rachel — who is backing Remain — suggested they play a game of tennis in the rain to clear his mind. While she did her best to question his stance — pointing out that he would be on the same team as Nigel Farage — it was a factor beyond her control that cemented her brother’s decision. Boris responded to his sister’s criticisms by naming the sportswear brands he was wearing:
‘It was now raining, though not too hard. ‘Come on, let’s play tennis,’ I suggested. As Boris found his kit I said, trying to be influential: ‘Yes Michael Gove is great and a good get for the outers. But George Galloway… Nigel Farage…?’
‘Look,’ Boris said, pointing down at his mud-encrusted shoes, and gesturing. ‘Nike trainers. Wilson tennis balls and Prince racket. These are American companies – they’re not part of Europe, are they? Hasn’t stopped us buying their products, has it?’
It was at that point I knew it wouldn’t make any difference if the outers were led by David Icke or the Cookie Monster.’
While Boris does now stand in the same camp as David Icke, he has still managed to retain his sister’s support — even though she says she will still be voting to stay in the EU come June.