To the Conrad hotel in St James where Nigel Farage went head to head with former Labour spinner John McTernan in a Ladbrokes’ Brexit debate. Although the EU was the number one topic on the agenda, the panel chair Isabel Oakeshott — who is the co-author of Call Me Dave — managed to get pig on the menu as she recalled an email McTernan had sent about a journalist — during his time advising Julia Gillard in Australia:
‘This was an order as to how this journalist was to be treated: dead — not ever, no transcripts, no returned calls, dead, forever — that’s an order.’
She said that the email summed up Number 10’s attitude to her since the release of Call Me Dave — which included a passage suggesting the Prime Minister had once had intimate relations with a dead pig.
As talk eventually turned to Brexit, Nigel Farage was quizzed over his Leave comrades. With Boris Johnson widely seen as the biggest asset to the Brexit camp, does Farage agree? Well, it turns out that he was left underwhelmed by the ‘shambolic’ press conference the Mayor of London gave outside his home on announcing he was an Out-er:
‘I was worried after that slightly shambolic street press conference in North London, but since he wrote the article in the Times this week he has been very very clear in what he’s saying and while the message is clear Boris is a huge asset.’
With Johnson now on side, did Farage have regrets about sharing a stage with George Galloway at a Grassroots Out rally? While angry Ukip supporters are reported to have walked out in protest at the Respect politcian’s involvement, Farage begs to differ. He says that people actually left during his own speech:
‘People left during my speech and I’m used to that obviously. The fact is we had run massively overtime and people were leaving in my speech to try and get trains. Of the 1800 in the room, maybe 150 left – most to get trains – were some people very shocked that Galloway was speaking? Of course they were. I take the view that this issue is bigger. Was it a mistake? No.’
Yet with Chris Gillibrand — Ukip’s candidate for Ogmore in the Assembly Elections — resigning from the party yesterday over Farage’s decision to share a platform with Galloway, Mr S suspects that Farage will experience greater difficulty when giving this explanation in the future.