Did Boris Really Miss COBR Meetings to Write Divorce-Funding Shakespeare Book?

The Sunday papers were light on marmalade droppers this weekend, however one paragraph in the Sunday Times did raise eyebrows: the claim Boris missed COBR meetings at the start of 2020 because he was busy writing a biography on Shakespeare, “the money from which he needed to fund his divorce from Marina”. It’s worried Cummings will accuse him of this on Wednesday. What’s the evidence?

The existence of the book – or rather, Boris’s intentions to write it – has been public knowledge for a long time. In 2019 the Guardian reported it was set to finally see the light of day that year, nearly four years after its original publication schedule in October 2016. Titled “Shakespeare: The Riddle of Genius”, the book is also prematurely listed on Amazon.

On the allegation Boris was writing the book to fund his divorce, this doesn’t seem to stand up. As mentioned above, it was originally scheduled for publication in 2016, and Boris received an advance for it along this time schedule, requiring its completion. He didn’t separate from Marina until 2018, however. That would have been some impressive preparation…

On spending time writing the book at the start of the year, this is more plausible. An old clip from of a February People’s PMQs – the period he was supposedly writing the book – sees Boris fill time by waffling on about the bard:

Allegations Boris missed five COBR meetings specifically to write the book seem like a stretch, though are the main source of online criticism. Funnily enough Nicola Sturgeon, who missed more COBR meetings at the start of the pandemic than Boris, has not been subject to same criticism. And she doesn’t have a biography of Shakespeare in the works to show for it…

UPDATE: On the Amazon listing, the publishers say this is a mistake and they have not scheduled the book to be released “in the foreseeable future”:

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mdi-timer 24 May 2021 @ 14:59 24 May 2021 @ 14:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Mrs Boris’ Takedown of Dave’s Deal

Marina Wheeler, a top human rights lawyer who took silk last month, has written a legal takedown of Dave’s EU deal for this week’s Spectator. All the more worth reading since she is of course Mrs Boris Johnson.

“Legally… [the renegotiations] raise more questions than they answer… This ought to have been an opportunity to look at the Court of Justice of the European Union, whose reach has extended to a point where the status quo is untenable. Aside from eroding national ­sovereignty (which it does) the current situation also undermines legal certainty — which, in turn, undermines good governance. Proper reform needs to address the EU legal order, in particular the jurisdictional muscle-­flexing of the Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The new proposals do not do this. Instead, they duck the issue entirely — clearing the way for a whole new body of EU rights law.”

Boris last week implied a guarantee on British sovereignty would be enough to convince him to Remain. Mrs BoJo says the currently situation on sovereignty is “untenable” and Dave has ducked the issue…

mdi-timer 10 February 2016 @ 14:06 10 Feb 2016 @ 14:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments