Alan Sugar vs Richard Desmond: a bare-knuckle battle of the egos

These titans of commerce had a boardroom fracas that should be replayed on live television. Plus, is Andrew Mitchell in line for Peter Mandelson's old job?

Share

The 2014 renewal of Sports Relief is a year away, and already the centrepiece takes shape. Barring injury, the keynote event is expected to be a three-round charity mash-up between the toughest Jews the country has known since the 1930s heyday of Jack “Kid” Berg. I refer, of course, to Alan Sugar, and Richard Desmond, who almost came to blows last week over the former’s departure as chairman of YouView, the latter’s catch-up TV system.

According to eye and ear witnesses, not only voices were raised after the shock resignation. Alan – estimated wealth: £800m – raised his fists and chased the pornster around the room. “He ran away from me because he was frightened,” claims the platform-shoed Fauntleroy of The Apprentice, “and then to play-act he shouted ‘You’re fired.’ ”

Trust Richard – worth a cool £1bn – to invoke the spirit of Dorothy Parker, who presciently observed: “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” Yet sometimes even the most delectable wit is no substitute for raw violence when it comes to the settling of differences, and the prospect of these beauties lacing up the gloves next March is beyond captivating.

Now I like that Alan Sugar, as Harry Hill used to say on his lamented TV Burp, but then I also like Richard Desmond. But which is better? There’s only way to find out. Fiiiiiiiiiight!

 

No need for Tim  to take the rap

Mention of Harry brings us to parliamentary nebbish Tim Loughton, whose attempts to rap on the 2010 reality show Tower Block of Commons were memorably featured on TV Burp. Sacked as an education minister in September, and apparently viciously briefed against by Michael Gove’s puppets, Tim now reveals that police interviewed him under caution after he called a constituent “unkempt”, the man citing this as a racist reference to his Romany background.

Although Tim will not be charged, it does sound a hellish ordeal. At the nick, he was asked about any mental health problems (an easy mistake if the officer saw the rap) and had to “weave through a group of drug dealers”. Clearly this was “humiliating”, as he confesses, though dealers are too well used to mixing with low life to fret unduly.

 

Is Mitchell the  new Mandelson?

Tim is not the only ex-minister to have “my confidence in the police knocked” of late, and for another, things look up. The Mail on Sunday reveals that Andrew Mitchell and David Cameron have made up over a Chequers lunch at which the KFC franchise heir Andrew Roberts, who moonlights as a Boy’s Own historian, was also present. The paper claims that whatever they ate – the rumour that Roberts brought a bucket of hot wings remains unconfirmed – the meal was so cordial that the PM has sort of promised to make Mitchell Britain’s EU commissioner  next year.

It is essential to remember that this is not a job which PMs routinely use to placate wrongly sacked colleagues. Peter Mandelson held it, after being unfairly resigned by Mr Tony Blair (Alastair Campbell, really) over the Hinduja passport affair.

 

Liz Jones is the  soul of discretion

Also in the MoS, Liz Jones adds a postscript to her column: “A small point, but am I the only woman in Britain who has not been groped or propositioned as an adult?” After all her years in the business, Liz expands, “not one man has ever asked me if he could buy me a drink or come to my hotel room”. It is bemusing. You’d have thought they’d be queuing round the block, secure in the knowledge that not a word about any encounter would ever find its way into print.

 

Neil Wallis – a clarification

In my column last week, I suggested that Neil Wallis had succeeded in persuading the CPS to drop phone-hacking charges against him by cooperating with and giving information to the police about fellow arrested journalists. This was untrue, and I am happy to set the record straight.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture