Slashed by her poison pen: They’re the wickedest political diaries since Alan Clark’s. Now, in this blistering review, we reveal the full glorious carnage of Sasha Swire’s character assassinations
- Sasha Swire’s upcoming book takes swipes at many high-profile Cabinet figures
- She also takes aim at the Royal Family and shares controversial anecdotes
- The diarist with the wicked pen is the wife of former Tory minister Sir Hugo Swire
Barely a single senior member of the governments of Boris Johnson, Theresa May and David Cameron emerges unscathed in the memoirs of ex-minister’s wife, Sasha Swire.
The idea of the current Prime Minister with his finger on the nuclear button ‘scares the s***’ out of Lady Swire, wife of former Tory minister Sir Hugo Swire.
Mr Cameron thinks it is ‘hilarious’ to joke with Lady Swire’s husband about the size of Michael Gove’s manhood — and the former Prime Minister is drawn to Lady Swire because she is ‘lewd’.
Sasha Swire, wife of former Tory minister Sir Hugo Swire (pictured together) leaves no one unscathed in her new memoirs
Meanwhile, Mrs May is Mrs ‘Glumbucket’, the ‘Maybot’, ‘Old Ma May’ or ‘old bat, crippled by her lack of intellectual confidence.
Nor does Lady Swire, 57, spare the blushes of the Royal Family in her book, Diary Of An MP’s Wife. She says the Queen ‘fixed her beady eyes’ on her at a dinner at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland when Sir Hugo was an Ulster Minister in the Cameron administration.
Prince Philip ‘ranted’ about how ‘appalled’ he and the Queen were that guests used laptops during Palace banquets. And Sir Hugo is distracted at a meeting with Prince Charles by his ‘thick Hanoverian hands’.
Lady Swire’s reaction to Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle in 2017 is to predict ‘trouble ahead’. The future Duchess of Sussex is ‘eating the redhead for breakfast’, she declares; he is ‘clearly not as clever as she is’.
Lady Swire’s reaction to Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle in 2017 is to predict ‘trouble ahead’
Lady Swire claims her book is a modern version of the highly acclaimed and outrageous Alan Clark Diaries in the Thatcher era. Like Clark, she gives a riveting insight into the political skulduggery and sexual high jinks of the Tory elite.
She also pokes affectionate fun at her husband Sir Hugo, or ‘H’, as she refers to him and candidly talks of their marriage problems.
The book — the most indiscreet political memoir in decades — claims Boris Johnson was driven by jealousy of Cameron. He saw Cameron as a ‘fee-paying squit’ at Eton in comparison to his own status of King’s Scholar at the school.
A rapier to Royalty
Describing meeting the Queen, Lady Swire said Her Majesty ‘fixes her beady eyes on me then swans past not saying a word’.
The Queen asks the same question to anyone she doesn’t know, adds Lady Swire — ‘How long have you been doing this?’
When they say ’decades’ or something similar, she says, ‘Gosh’ or ‘Wonderful’ or ‘Have you really?’
At a royal dinner, Prince Philip ‘ranted on about some royal banquet where the guests got out their laptops and how appalled he and the Queen were’.
Sophie Wessex comes under in the scathing book
As for Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie Wessex, Lady Swire is enraged by a ‘fatuous’ comment she made at a royal garden party at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland, where Sasha’s husband was a minister in the Cameron government.
The Countess delivered a ‘long moan’ about sharing royal duties with her husband and being ‘frozen out’.
Prince Edward is described as an ‘overexcitable puppy’. When Sir Hugo is knighted at Windsor Castle in 2016 he is worried it will be done by Prince Andrew, saying: ‘I’m not kneeling down in front of that man. He might knight me with his todger.’
Those receiving knighthoods are never told in advance who is going to do the honours, she says, ‘because if it’s Princess Anne everyone complains and tries to switch days’.
Lady Swire describes Johnson as ‘His Blondness’, adding that he used to be a ‘political calculating machine’ with ‘no political identity or proven ability to grasp difficult questions and decisions’. He had never been loyal to the Tories; his only loyalty was to himself. Many of Johnson’s colleagues did not take him seriously.
When Philip Hammond was Chancellor in the May government and Boris Johnson asked him for an extra £150million for the NHS, Hammond replied ‘silly boy’, treating him like a ‘stupid child’.
David Davis, then Brexit Secretary, ‘actually clipped Boris over the back of the head with his hand’ at the same meeting, shocking other ministers. Boris is a ‘big, fat, yellow, bouncy Labrador,’ says Lady Swire. ‘He is curiously vulnerable and longs to be loved and cannot understand it when he is not.’
Despite her criticisms of Johnson, by the time he becomes Prime Minister Lady Swire has warmed to him. He is an ‘alley cat’, but one with ‘greatness of soul, generosity of spirit and lack of pettiness,’ a rare quality in politics, she observes.
Cameron always saw Johnson as a ‘liability’, says Lady Swire — and she does not spare the former PM.
Many Tory MPs think Cameron would have done much better in the 2010 election, she says, if he ‘hadn’t been such a liberal wimp’. Lady Swire says Cameron’s campaigning style ‘lacked passion’.
She even challenged him when their two families were holidaying in Cornwall: ‘Are you actually a Conservative, Dave?’ Cameron ‘dives into the surf, furious and flushed, to avoid me’.
She says Cameron and his inner circle’s ‘obsession’ with promoting ministers with a ‘good back story’ led to big mistakes.
Sajid Javid was given a Cabinet job ‘because they like the fact that he is a Muslim and his father was a bus driver in Bristol’.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps — Lady Swire calls him ‘Von Schnapps’ — was seen as ‘ghastly’ by some of Cameron’s team. Justine Greening was ‘loathed’ but had ‘to be kept in the Cabinet because she is a woman’.
Lady Swire complains bitterly that Sir Hugo was denied a Cabinet job because ‘he is male white and privileged. They simply won’t let it happen’.
She is no less ruthless in her treatment of Michael Gove. At one point, after a meeting of the National Security Council, Sir Hugo tells her he is ‘starting to think Gove is ever so slightly bonkers’. She adds that William Hague looked ‘exasperated every time Gove spoke’.
Cameron ‘gave Gove a b*****king’ and ‘went ballistic’ when the Scotsman publicly attacked the ‘preposterous’ number of Etonians in Cameron’s inner circle. Boris Johnson’s brother, ex-Tory MP Jo, ‘almost burst into tears when he read it’.
Gove’s aim in saying this was to wreck Boris Johnson’s chances of succeeding Cameron, declares Lady Swire, who adds: Gove is a ‘loose cannon’ and, as an ex-journalist, ‘mistakes headlines for achievements’.
She describes Gove’s close ally Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s No 10 chief of staff, as ‘one of those odd amoebas you find in jars in school science labs’
She describes Gove’s close ally Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s No 10 chief of staff, as ‘one of those odd amoebas you find in jars in school science labs’. Cummings is a ‘stark raving mad Rasputin’.
Teaming him up with Gove, the ‘most volatile member of the Government, was always an explosion waiting to happen’. Lady Swire accuses Gove of ‘lying through his teeth’ and says that when he fell out with Cameron over Brexit, Cameron was so angry he said he would never have Michael or his wife Sarah Vine — a Mail columnist — or his children in his house ever again.
She says Gove also upset former Tory leadership contender Rory Stewart, who looked set to ‘punch’ him when Gove made a joke that backfired about a jihadi kissing Stewart’s wife. It was ‘nutter Michael in a nutshell’.
When Sir Hugo is knighted at Windsor Castle in 2016 he is worried it will be done by Prince Andrew, saying: ‘I’m not kneeling down in front of that man. He might knight me with his todger’
The book is full of shocking sexual shenanigans and pranks. At a birthday party for George Osborne in the Chancellor’s No11 flat, for instance, Lady Swire says Sir Hugo and Cameron were ‘laughing uproariously’ about the size of the private parts of certain Tories, including Gove.
Killer political quips
- George Osborne, former Chancellor: Looked like a ‘caddish extra on Downton Abbey’. Pasty tax showed he was ‘too clever to be sensible’.
- Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary: Arrived at a meeting ‘looking like he usually looks, sweaty, just out of the gym and wanting to kill people’.
- Matt Hancock, Health Secretary: ‘Particularly disingenuous. Quite an actor that one.’
- Esther McVey, former Work and Pensions Minister: ‘More ladette than lady.’
- Francis Maude, Cabinet Office Minister in Cameron government: ‘Fagin-like, villainous-looking with tight little weasel eyes.’
- William Hague former Foreign Secretary: He was ‘foolish’ to issue a statement about the ‘gynaecological secrets’ of wife Ffion in response to unsubstantiated ‘gay rumours’ about him. Hague is ‘only ever interested in himself, his ministers are gnat bites on his ankles, or so he makes them feel’.
- Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary: Tells Sir Hugo he was fed up with his wife’s vegan cooking, so was thrilled to find a ham and chicken bake in the oven. He ‘gobbled it down lustily, and when his wife came home she asked where the dog’s food was’.
- John Bercow, former House of Commons Speaker: He is ‘a little weasel, creepy, revolting, little goblin, gripped by his own smug sanctity, dislikes Hugo’.
- Donald Trump: ‘A filthy, racist misogynist’.
John Bercow is ‘a little weasel, creepy’
Gove’s manhood was ‘like a slinky that comes down the stairs before the rest of the body,’ said Sir Hugo. Cameron thought this ‘hilarious’. Sir Hugo started a ‘male conversation’ at the same party ‘about which women in politics are beddable and which aren’t’.
Lady Swire is unabashed about why David Cameron liked her. It was ‘because I am not remotely nervous around him. I’m cheeky, occasionally lewd and sometimes a little too challenging’.
During a weekend at Chequers hosted by the Camerons for several ministers and their spouses, Lady Swire says that the dinner conversation covers ‘STDs at Oxford, and my menopausal symptoms and libido’. She tells the gathering she enjoys sex much more in her 50s than in her 40s.
Her indiscretions even shine a light on Osborne’s marriage break up with wife Frances, which crops up frequently in the diaries. At a 2012 barbecue hosted by Osborne at the Chancellor’s official country residence Dorneywood, Frances stayed in the kitchen for the entire event and ‘did not appear at all’. Lady Swire comments, simply: ‘Extraordinary.’
When the couple’s split was announced later, Lady Swire says the ex-Chancellor was ‘having a mini menopause and throwing all his toys out of the pram’.
She tells how at a birthday party for a Cabinet Minister she embarrassed Lord [Ed] LLewellyn, Cameron’s No 10 chief of staff and now Britain’s Ambassador in Paris. ‘I smile, cup my hand, lower it between his legs, gather up his testicles and squeeze.’
When a military clash looms between Russia and America over Syria in 2017, Lady Swire says: ‘Putin and Trump have been getting their d***s out to prove which one is bigger.’
She tells how she and Home Secretary Amber Rudd casually discuss whether David Davis is ‘a shagger’. They agree he isn’t. She states in a preface to her book that she had never intended to publish her diaries because it would have been a ‘betrayal’ of her family and friends, adding that some of her entries ‘might offend without meaning to’.
She changed her mind because ‘it is always men who write history’.
Plenty of her friends — both male and female — may well not forgive her change of heart.
- Diary Of An MP’s Wife, by Sasha Swire, is published by Little, Brown £20. © Sasha Swire 2020.
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