Matthew Bell: The <i>IoS</i> diary

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A sorry episode in the London mayoral elections has been the publication of Andrew Hosken's biography of Ken Livingstone. Publication had been scheduled for last week, but it had to be rushed out early when its big revelation that Ken has three children from two wives somehow leaked out in advance. Now publisher Gary Pulsifer is livid and is determined to find out how it happened.

The story was broken by BBC London's political editor Tim Donovan, who claims to have got it entirely independently from Hosken. He insists he had been working on it for several months, and that it was a coincidence that he happened to reveal it only weeks before Hosken's book was due out. Only six people were given access to Hosken's manuscript, and were forced to sign a strict embargo. Three of the signatories were from the 'Daily Mail', which then bought the serialisation rights. Two were from 'The Times', and the sixth was from 'The Guardian'. Once the story got out, the 'Mail' cancelled the serialisation as it was no longer exclusive, losing Hosken and Arcadia a substantial amount of money. "We are extremely shocked," says Pulsifer. "We are investigating whether the story was leaked and are considering all options, including legal action."

Claims that it was the 'Evening Standard' "wot won it" for London mayor Boris Johnson may well be endorsed by Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddick, who won less than 10 per cent of the votes. Paddick feels strongly that the 'Standard' portrayed the election as a two-horse race, thereby excluding him from much of its coverage. To head off such criticism (from both inside and outside Associated), 10 days ago, 'Standard' editor Veronica Wadley invited Paddick to her office for a chat. I gather he told her in, shall we say, stronger terms than she was expecting how he felt about being consistently sidelined. By way of a peace offering, Wadley offered him the chance to write a leader page last week, but I gather this may not be the end of the story.

Hanif Kureishi has risen to become one of Britain's best-loved authors, drawing on his experiences as a half-Pakistani growing up in London. Last week his place in the establishment was confirmed when he went to Buckingham Palace to collect his CBE. But the moment which may rank as one of the proudest in Kureishi's life was not witnessed by his mother, Audrey. I'm told Ma Kureishi, who is English, is firmly anti the monarchy and boycotted the event. Kureishi went on to celebrate at a lunch with his publisher. It is not the first time his family has expressed its disapproval: earlier this year his sister Yasmin lashed out at her brother for writing about family members in his novels. Kureishi was unavailable for comment.

Boris Johnson's victory over Ken Livingstone was largely thanks to über-tactician Lynton Crosby. But it was not just the Labour Party he was up against. I'm told that the real battle was against Conservative Central Office which had very different ideas about how to run the campaign. Chief among these was the shadow Chancellor George Osborne. "Lynton Crosby had to overrule Osborne on a number of occasions," I have been told. "It was pretty heavy at times." Among the many causes for celebration for senior Tories this weekend will be the moment Mr Crosby hops on his plane back to Australia.

Lord Marland, Frances Osborne and members of the Johnson clan were among those at Team Boris's celebratory party on Friday night. Rachel (sister), Leo (brother) and Stanley (father) – who is putting himself forward for Henley when Boris gives up his seat – enjoyed cocktails, a live band and fresh Harrods oysters on the 29th floor of Millbank Tower, overlooking London. An ice sculpture with Boris's campaign logo inside gave some indication of the generous backing Boris has received. Earlier in the day, two members of the public had accosted Stanley, dubbed Boris Senior by the team, in the belief that he was Boris, only for one of them to realise their mistake on closer inspection. "No, no, I am Boris," insisted Stanley. Will the residents of Henley be able to tell the difference?

Vivienne Westwood, left, was one of a clutch of celebrities to express their horror at the prospect of Boris as mayor in 'The Guardian' last week. "Unthinkable" was her verdict. "It just exposes democracy as a sham, especially if people don't vote for Ken – he's the best thing in politics. Unthinkable." But, hang on, is this the same Vivienne Westwood who surprised us all by declaring her support for the Tory party last November?