Last night John Whittingdale’s 2014 relationship with a dominatrix was made public by Newsnight in an interview with Hacked Off founder Brain Cathcart. However, Hacked Off members were soon branded ‘hypocrites’ for forcing a cabinet minister to admit he unknowingly had a relationship with a prostitute — given that they claim to rally against press intrusion. While Cathcart says that the right-wing media had conspired to hide the story of Whitto’s relationship for their own benefit, the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade has dismissed their claims as ‘pure speculation’.
So, a good time to distance oneself from Hacked Off supporters? Apparently not. In fact, as this was being played out on the BBC, former Labour leader Ed Miliband was across town catching up with his Hacked Off friends at the press night of Stephen Frears’ new film Florence Foster Jenkins — which stars Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant — at Asia de Cuba in St Martins Lane.
As guests including Alan Yentob and Mamie Gummer toasted the film with champagne cocktails, the event also appeared to double up as a Hacked Off reunion. Red Ed turned up at the event to support Grant — who Miliband met with to discuss press standards during his time as Labour leader, while fellow Hacked Off backer — and Labour supporter — Steve Coogan also made it along to the private bash. Whatever could they have had to talk about?