Some people might have thought he might tire of her pecking away on his shoulder and level her down.
But the thing about Angela Rayner is that everybody sort of loves her, even those who sort of hate her.
With her mouthy show-off personality, she’s not exactly the type you would like to have with her finger on the nuclear button but she’s got a fizz and conviction that is missing in so many politicians.
She’s like the leader of the gang at school, sneering from the sidelines – and despite yourself you kind of want to be in her gang.
But the thing about Angela Rayner is that everybody sort of loves her, even those who sort of hate her
With her mouthy show-off personality, she’s not exactly the type you would like to have with her finger on the nuclear button but she’s got a fizz and conviction that is missing in so many politicians
Angie shares the same foxy appeal as many other renegade redheads. Prince Harry, who was many people’s Royal favourite until he went nuts; Chris Evans, the bad boy of broadcasting; the maverick Sarah Ferguson; and, it is claimed, the terrifying Boadicea. Kylie Minogue has tried to capture some of that ginger mischievousness with a new hair colour.
Rayner became a mother at 16 and a grandmother at 37. She rose to the top of the political game by connecting with much of an electorate who don’t see many people like them sitting in the Commons. With her long chestnut hair, and penchant for a dash of leopard print, the eye is drawn to her on the front bench, where she looks as if she is just biding her time for a bit of rabble-rousing, or a big smile.
She also likes to have fun, confessing to drinking lethal cocktails from mid-afternoon to sunrise the next morning on a recent Spanish holiday and sharing selfies at the Parklife music festival. She adds a welcome spritz of youthful vigour to the Commons.
And, lucky her, it’s a fact that redheads don’t go grey.
Our Turkish turmoil when the Queen died
We all remember where we were when we learned of the Queen’s death a year ago. I expect we always will.
I was on a boat cruising sedately along the coast of Turkey. One of our party was a member of the Privy Council, summoned immediately to join the Accession Council (which starts the process of proclaiming the next monarch.)
Pictured: Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to Royal Papworth Hospital, Cambridge in July 2019
Most of the cruise had been spent idly sitting on deck with a book and a glass of white wine, only interrupted by yet another meal or a swim in an empty cove.
Then the news broke and suddenly it was all go.
Our Privy Counsellor had to get from this spot in the middle of nowhere to St James’s Palace by ten the next morning, where the gathering was to be convened.
Since the role has little purpose other than to meet on such rare occasions, a solution had to be found. Not attending was not an option. I’ll never forget waving him off in a tiny dinghy headed for the distant mainland to get a late-night Turkish Airlines flight.
Later, as we watched on our iPads while the Council solemnly convened the next day, we were all pleased to see he had made it – and with time enough to change into a suit.
Watch out mozzies – I’m biting back
How lovely it has been to have this Indian summer, with cloudless blue skies and the evenings warm enough to eat outside. Except, except… the mosquitoes. Perhaps it’s only in our area of North-West London that the mozzies have made their presence known but we’ve been subjected to that maddening zzzzzzz as the nasty little things cruise back and forth in front of your nose, preventing sleep, before landing silently to take a bite.
As someone a bit allergic to their bites, when I travel I take an arsenal of anti-mozzie kit, but at home we are unprepared for this invasion. The best solution I’ve found is a portable fan whizzing around my nose instead. Noisy but far less itchy.
Short dresses won’t do in the Devil’s world
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has presumptuously described herself as The Devil Wears Prada Does Politics. Hmm. I’m not so sure. She doesn’t bear much resemblance in the style stakes to Anna Wintour, who was supposedly the template for the Devil.
In the Devil’s world, the more powerful you are, the less you carry. You have an entourage of little people to deal with that
They might both wear large sunglasses but I don’t think I’ve ever spotted Anna in a short dress of the kind Keegan likes to wear, nor carrying a huge handbag.
In the Devil’s world, the more powerful you are, the less you carry. You have an entourage of little people to deal with that.
There’s no escape from prison failings
When a prisoner at Wandsworth jail escaped four years ago by latching on to the undercarriage of a vehicle, it was claimed (as it is so often the case) that ‘lessons would be learned’. Clearly they haven’t and, as far as I can tell, various protocols are frequently breached.
It also takes so long for any official inquiry to discover why a calamity happened that everyone has forgotten what lesson was meant to be learned in the first place.
It Girl Sienna still gets top Marks at 41
It’s not easy to remain an It Girl at 41, let alone one who models for M&S. But Sienna Miller has achieved this rare feat.
As the face of the M&S autumn campaign, she looks beautiful swathed in funnel-necked cream wool and swirling around in an acid yellow midi skirt, her blonde hair in a loose tousle and wearing her trademark red lipstick.
As the face of the M&S autumn campaign, she looks beautiful swathed in funnel-necked cream wool and swirling around in an acid yellow midi skirt, her blonde hair in a loose tousle and wearing her trademark red lipstick
Fronting an M&S campaign doesn’t always endow you with fashion cred but Miller is in no danger of losing her status. She’s morphed from being the gorgeous boho party girl famous for her love-life and late-night stamina into a seriously good actress.
Yet she’s still able to rock denim shorts and white cowboy boots at this year’s Glastonbury and she’s pregnant by her 28-year-old actor boyfriend, Oli Green, scion of one of the wealthiest art gallery dynasties in the country.
No doubt Sienna will still be an enviable It Girl at 50.