Cast your mind back to last summer. The received wisdom in Westminster was that Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, was dead in the water. But Jenrick managed to survive persistent pressure to resign over allegations he rushed through planning decisions favouring Tory donor and media mogul Richard Desmond.
Nine months later, Jenrick’s position is, well, as safe as houses. This is, in no small part, due to affairs of the heart. His special adviser Olivia Oates is engaged to Liam Booth-Smith who is a special adviser to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and who coordinates policy between Number Ten and the Treasury. Previously, Booth-Smith did Oates’s job and Corridor hears “Dishy Rishi” has taken a shine to Jenrick and spends much time with him plotting housing policy. With so much professional and personal alignment going on, our source quips, “Jenrick should go on honeymoon with Booth-Smith and Oates as their personal butler, since without them chances are he would now be in the political wilderness.”
It’s not often the case that insufficient attention is paid to Spads. But is Sophie Jarvis, special adviser to Liz Truss, secretary of state for international trade, getting away with it over Brexit? While her boss publicly boasts of her post-Brexit trade deals, Corridor discovers Jarvis once repudiated her support for Brexit on television when she was working for right-wing think tank the Adam Smith Institute. Jarvis appeared on the BBC’s Daily Politics TV show in November 2018 alongside Tory MP Gillian Keegan and Liars’ Poker author Michael Lewis. Jarvis told the programme she was a Brexiteer at the time of the 2016 vote but would no longer support leaving the EU again if she had a second vote on the issue, much to the disdain of Keegan. To adopt that time- honoured Brexit cliché, it seems like Sophie has had her Brexit cake and eaten it.
Many of Boris Johnson’s old friends have yet to visit him at Downing Street. Inevitably, the PM’s fiancée Carrie Symonds is being held responsible for preventing BoJo from breaking bread with his chums. A friend of Boris informs me one of these missing pals is Justin Rushbrooke, a media lawyer pal of Johnson’s from Balliol College, Oxford who, along with his wife Nell Butler, used to spend time with Boris. The Evening Standard reported in 2008 that Rushbrooke gave “Boris legal insight and media analysis”. Yet Corridor understands Justin has not seen Boris since he became prime minister. “But Justin has just acted as QC for Meghan Markle in her successful legal action against the Mail on Sunday which surely must endear him to Carrie, since it was viewed as a victory for wokeness.” Will this be enough to secure him an invitation to catch up with the PM?
Chris Bryant, the colourful priest-cum- Labour MP, has sold the screen rights to his book The Glamour Boys, a study of ten gay MPs who stood up to Hitler during the second world war, to Mother Pictures, whose previous credits include a short film starring Phoebe “Fleabag” Waller-Bridge. Let’s hope it’s more successful on screen for Bryant than his stint as shadow culture secretary in 2015. That lasted three months.