What better way to obtain redemption than by buying a stake in Britain’s leading Catholic publication? I can reveal that ex-Tory MP Brooks Newmark has just become one of the main shareholders of the Catholic Herald.
Newmark stood down from Parliament in 2015 after becoming the victim of a newspaper ‘sting’ in which a male reporter posed as a female party activist to whom Newmark sent a number of revealing texts.
He acquired his stake from fallen media tycoon Conrad Black, who has offloaded his 47.5 per cent holding in equal shares to Newmark and buccaneering, thrice-married publisher William Cash, 52.
Now a visiting academic at the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford, American-born Newmark, 61, has ambitious plans for the weekly magazine.
‘There are 70 million Catholics in the U.S. and about half a billion Spanish speakers across the world,’ he tells me, adding that the Herald is investigating in online editions in Spanish, French and Italian.
Who knew gardening could be so risque? Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley, 53, attended the RHS Chelsea Flower Show yesterday in a floral blue dress just days after a ‘mortifying’ incident where a delivery driver spotted her gardening at home in her undies
Newmark, who is Jewish, was introduced to Catholicism after his father died.
‘My mother re-married and moved to England, marrying a Catholic. We were brought up half-Catholic, half-Jewish — my five kids likewise. My wife Lucy is a Catholic.’
Sir Rocco Forte, who owns the controlling interest in the venerable periodical — first published in 1888 — paid tribute to the departing Black. ‘He’s very grateful for Conrad Black’s support,’ Sir Rocco’s spokesman tells me. ‘Conrad decided, as he’s no longer living here, to sell his stake to someone who was actively involved in the UK.’
Cash insists that Black, who was dramatically pardoned by President Trump last week, will not be forgotten. ‘We are hosting a dinner for him when he comes over to London for a few weeks,’ he tells me, ‘and we hope he will continue to write for us.’
Let’s hope Black, who served three years in a U.S. prison for fraud and obstruction of justice, can squeeze it into his schedule. Last year he knocked out a biography entitled: Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.
Jazz singer Natalie Rushdie (right) sang live in the Savills David Harber Garden in a £20,000 bespoke Catherine Walker white dress. ‘I enjoyed an ice cream after fitting into a small size,’ she told me, as she was joined by Good Morning Britain’s Charlotte Hawkins in a multi-colour shirt dress
Has Coastal Communities minister Jake Berry taken his brief a little too far? He’s turning heads around his North-West Rossendale & Darwen constituency thanks to his new wheels, a bright yellow Ford pick-up from Caernarfon council.
‘The council used it as a cleaning van,’ sighs a friend of the exuberant minister. ‘Jake seems to think it looks a bit like the lifeguards’ vehicle in Baywatch. He has even christened it ‘Pamela’.’
Aspinall’s girls make a charming menagerie
Conservationist Damian Aspinall’s three glamorous daughters got dolled up for his biannual Ormeley dinner in Westminster, co-hosted by his wife, Victoria.
Freya, 15, whose mother is actress Donna Air, sported a silver gown, while Clary, 27, and Tansy, 30, whose mum is Damian’s first wife, Louise Sebag-Montefiore, turned heads in pink and cream frocks respectively.
Freya, who regularly helps her father with his projects, declared: ‘So proud of you, Papa.’
Conservationist Damian Aspinall’s three glamorous daughters got dolled up for his biannual Ormeley dinner in Westminster, co-hosted by his wife, Victoria. Freya (left), Clary and Tansy (right)
Will there be a sequel to the £800 million box office-grossing Bohemian Rhapsody? ‘We’re talking about it,’ admits Queen guitarist Brian May. ‘There’s a school of thought that says, ‘Leave it.’ There’s another that thinks, ‘A lot happened after Live Aid.’ However, drummer Roger Taylor is clearly of the former opinion. ‘I’m tempted to leave things as they are,’ he says.
I’m too old to play bad guys, says TV baddie Dominic West
The Affair star Dominic West complains he is now typecast as a man with a wandering eye.
‘I’m still being asked to play philandering cads — my next part is going to be awful, as well,’ says the 49-year-old, referring to Stateless, a six-part TV series about an immigration detention centre.
However, it could be worse. ‘I had a year where I played Fred West and [Shakespearean baddy] Iago. I did enjoy it, but I don’t want to do that any more. I’m too old.
‘Although it’s easy to make evil dramatic, and it’s very hard to make virtue funny or interesting. Evil is actually quite boring. The defining feature of real evil is blandness.
‘As I get older, I want to have less and less to do with it.’
The curse of Brexit strikes in the most unlikey ways . . .
Huw Edwards was invited to address the Hay Festival about the BBC News operation. Sadly, the News At Ten anchor’s Sunday appearance has been cancelled due to a rolling news crisis.
‘With Huw Edwards recalled to London to present the television coverage of the EU election results, some of the festival stars including Stephen Fry join us in a gala variety show to conjure tales, cast spells, paint otters, tell love stories and interrogate the notion of balance on BBC News,’ a festival spokesman says.
No substitute for the great Welshman, surely.
Who knew gardening could be so risque? Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley, 53, attended the RHS Chelsea Flower Show yesterday in a floral blue dress just days after a ‘mortifying’ incident where a delivery driver spotted her gardening at home in her undies.
‘I couldn’t be bothered to put on a bikini because, really, what’s the difference between a bikini and a bra and pants? I did have gardening gloves on and I had a trowel — and nothing else,’ admits the mother of four. ‘I spotted this driver who was obviously completely lost and didn’t know where he was supposed to be taking a package. So we had a very, very embarrassing exchange!’
Jo was joined by Yorkshire lass Dame Judi Dench, who visited the Welcome To Yorkshire garden in an eye-catching emroidered beige coat.
Jazz singer Natalie Rushdie sang live in the Savills David Harber Garden in a £20,000 bespoke Catherine Walker white dress.
‘I enjoyed an ice cream after fitting into a small size,’ she told me, as she was joined by Good Morning Britain’s Charlotte Hawkins in a multi-colour shirt dress.
Jo was joined by Yorkshire lass Dame Judi Dench, who visited the Welcome To Yorkshire garden in an eye-catching emroidered beige coat
Fleabag star Andrew Scott, who played the love interest of the show’s star and writer, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, admits that he rather likes being referred to as the hot priest. ‘It’s better than a lot of things you could be accused of. So, yeah, it’s great, it’s cool,’ he says. ‘The reaction to the priest has been unbelievable. I think it’s more about the character itself. I think the dog collar probably does something to people that’s more down to that than to me.’
Time waits for no man — except evergreen Dragons
Former Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne, 70, risked accusations of cultural appropriation when he donned a Native American headdress to attend a Miami party with his wife Nigora, 39.
The multi-millionaire businessman, who wed former Harley Street receptionist Nigora in 2017, in the end provoked more comments on social media about his youthful glow.
‘Duncan is starting to look younger than his beautiful wife,’ noted one of his followers.
The multi-millionaire businessman, who wed former Harley Street receptionist Nigora in 2017, in the end provoked more comments on social media about his youthful glow