Guerrilla anti-Brexit outfit Led by Donkeys has restarted its viral poster campaign, which shames politicians by sharing their past statements on giant billboards.
This time, Led by Donkeys has Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party firmly in the crosshairs over the party’s “failure to publish a manifesto”. The group is plastering quotations from Farage and his fellow candidates across the land. This, the group claims, can stand in for a policy platform, alongside a spoof website the group has also created.
“Until they publish a manifesto we have to assume the party’s policies are the policies, beliefs and statements made by the leaders of the party,” Led by Donkeys told The Londoner.
The group went on hiatus in April but returned yesterday with a poster in Coventry, above, featuring a quote from Farage which read: “We need to move to an insurance-based system of healthcare”.
Posters targeting MEP candidates Ann Widdecombe and James Bartholomew followed in Neath and Christchurch, as well as a second featuring Farage in Taunton.
Led by Donkeys has accused the Brexit Party leader of double standards. “For years he has been telling us the European Parliament has too much power,” a spokesperson told The Londoner, “and now he’s saying it doesn’t matter what his candidates will do when they get there and exercise that power.” The Brexit Party has said it will publish its policies after the European elections.
But the first reason Led by Donkeys relaunched was simply that watching Farage and his candidates tour the country left them “really irritated, to the extent that we had to get back in the game”.
With the European elections taking place next Thursday, another break could be on the cards. “We’ll take stock at the end of this push,” they explained. But they hesitated: “Farage is not going anywhere, is he?”
Team Boris gets on the starting blocks
The Boris machine is kicking into action but MPs are dumbstruck over who’s in charge. Is it former MP James Wharton? Lynton Crosby? One MP shrugged: “No one’s running Boris, mainly not Boris.” But a source close to Johnson told us the MP was a bit like Paris Hilton — you walk into a meeting with him expecting a ditzy blonde, and actually get a strategic operation. They implied there was method in his madness. Others think that this stratagem has Crosby’s dabs all over it.
We reported yesterday on the 18th anniversary of John Prescott punching a voter on the campaign trail. Sky News’ Adam Boulton recalls it well. “We had an eyewitness reporter,” he says, adding that Labour heavyweight Lord Falconer “phoned me to say the Prescott punch hadn’t happened and I was making a career-ending mistake”.
Guests gathered at Battersea Arts Centre this week to pay tribute to the late comedian Jeremy Hardy. Sandi Toksvig recalls her favourite moments on The News Quiz were “when Jeremy went off on one and I would take off my glasses and sit back, knowing that there were 10 unbroadcastable minutes ahead of us”.
Let them eat cake: food and drink royalty gather for Fortnums’ awards
Fortnum & Mason celebrated its annual food and drink awards yesterday by throwing a do. The fourth floor was packed with guests including compere Claudia Winkleman, novelist Kathy Lette, Nadiya Hussain, Stanley Tucci and Felicity Blunt, and Prince Charles stopped by to receive a special award in recognition of his unwavering commitment to the cause of sustainable and healthy food and farming.
Lette told us her dream dinner party is one where she doesn’t have to do the cooking: “Women need to get out of the kitchen — I don’t want to be tethered by my apron strings.” The Londoner also grabbed a quick chat with Wiliam Sitwell, the quick-tempered former Waitrose magazine editor who was fired over a misfired email to a vegan journalist, who told us: “I don’t even remember it happening.”
Greg Hands MP, below, has joined a former head of legal affairs at No 10 in calling for the Conservatives to have a new Prime Minister in place quickly. Nikki da Costa, who quit in 2018, says the Tories must get their act together so the new leader “can get a grip on Whitehall and hit the ground running” and that “running [the] process over summer, feels like navel-gazing”. Hands said simply, “To coin a phrase, I agree with Nikki.”
Is Jacob Rees-Mogg no longer box-office? He will speak at a debate about the Victorians next week with the V&A’s Tristram Hunt. Tickets have been available since March. Just months ago he sold out the 2,300-seat Palladium in a fortnight.
Liz Truss was in Plymouth yesterday to support fellow Tory Johnny Mercer at a round-table on housing, and the pair found time for tea. Mercer shared a photo of himself with Truss, who was holding some scones, captioning it: “some cracking buns in Plymouth today”.
Tessa had a ball playing Catch with George
Actor Tessa Ferrer, who plays Nurse Duckett in George Clooney’s new TV production of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, tells The Londoner that life on set started to imitate art. “Most days it did feel like we were in a real-life Catch-22,” she says. “It was an Italian crew. They were all incredible. [But there] were lots of miscommunications on set. And everyone was in stitches most of the day. So there were many moments where it felt like we were in our own satire.”
Quote of the day
Tulip Siddiq, Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, simply can’t believe Boris Johnson saying he will run for Tory leader
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