Sir John Major was the only British politician to be invited to the funeral of Barbara Bush
Sir John Major was the only British politician to be invited to the funeral of Barbara Bush, 92-year-old matriarch of the Bush dynasty, held in Houston, Texas, on Saturday.
Four past U.S. presidents and their wives — Barbara’s husband, George H. W. Bush, and their son, George W. Bush, and the Clintons and Obamas — plus an unaccompanied Melania Trump, all turned out for the service.
‘Sir John was certainly the only [British] politician I’m aware of who was there,’ says his chief of staff, Dame Arabella Warburton. ‘He and Dame Norma were guests of the Bush family.
‘They kept in touch after leaving office, remained very close and were very glad they were able to attend.’
The trip to Texas prevented Sir John, a former president of Surrey County Cricket Club, from dropping in at the Oval, where Surrey were playing Hampshire, but Dame Arabella insists that there was ‘nowhere else he would have wished to have been that day’.
Michael Portillo is keeping the Thatcher flame alight. ‘Today it’s popular to chastise her for reducing the stock of social housing.
‘Well, it is nearly 30 years since she was in office and successive Labour and Conservative governments have shown little enthusiasm for building more council houses,’ says the former defence secretary, who has made a Channel 5 film about the UK’s housing crisis. ‘You can’t blame Maggie for everything.’