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Michael Gove audibly wrestled with contradicting the PM during this interview with Laura K this morning, though he clearly felt the need to make the point that the renegotiation is not legally binding without treaty change. Also worth reading Sarah Vine’s column today for a personal account of Gove’s inner turmoil, and what happened during that dinner with Boris:
And so, last Tuesday, we had drinks in Boris and his wife Marina’s stylishly dishevelled drawing room.
Marina and I were broadly in agreement: whatever was most likely to keep the boys happy. Also there was the Russian media mogul Evgeny Lebedev, impeccably groomed and suited, a stark contrast to the two baggy-suited politicians sitting next to each other on the sofa.
Boris, meanwhile, was Boris: very agitated, genuinely tortured as to which way to go, although not for quite the same reasons as Michael.
It was already all a bit surreal. Then, just as dinner was being served, it got even more bizarre. A senior Cabinet minister, accompanied by a lawyer, came on speakerphone to discuss the complexities of law in relation to sovereignty. Michael and Boris leaned into the iPhone, Boris firing questions at it, Michael making listening noises.
I, too, listened dutifully for a few minutes, but it really was a very lawyerly conversation, and the aroma rising from the slow-roasted shoulder of lamb was getting to me. I tucked in.
Marina and Evgeny followed suit, and we spent the next 20 minutes attempting to make polite conversation in stage whispers, Boris shushing us every time we got too loud.
After that, Wednesday and Thursday passed in a flurry of phone calls and meetings. There was a good deal more sighing. As the hours wore on and the various participants in this bizarre saga got increasingly tired and tetchy, the pressure grew.
There were some mightily tricky exchanges. It was clear that No 10 were very keen indeed to swing Michael’s vote in their favour. But it was not to be.
Could’ve been one last scoop for the Indy!