Tomorrow's Business Today
The curious case of the missing Carrie story
On Saturday The Times reported that Boris Johnson was planning to give Carrie Symonds, then his mistress, a £100,000 a year government job while he was Foreign Secretary.
The story was a Boris classic, complete with corruption, cover-ups and “compromising positions”.
That story disappeared from the paper’s website, mysteriously, soon after. Before essentially the same story appeared in the MailOnline.
It had made its way into page five of the early edition of The Times, but not later ones.
What happened? Here is what I’m told:
There’s a version of the story in Lord Ashcroft’s book on Carrie, called First Lady: Intrigue at the Court of Carrie and Boris Johnson.
The Mail’s serialisation of the book had the details of the job offer, but avoided the compromising position stuff, the juicy bit.
Plainly The Times thought it worth another, extended, airing.
Alerted to it, Number 10 went nuts, and said it was a smear effort by Dominic Cummings.
The paper folded. The Mail also then pulled it.
Which only added to online interest, forcing Downing St, or at least a Number 10 “source” to tell The Guardian: “This is a grubby, discredited story turned down by most reputable media outlets because it isn’t true.”
Simon Walters, the original journalist, stands by the story and I think we should take him at his word.
The paper’s parent company News UK offered no comment on why the tale was dropped.
Does this stuff happen often? With politics stories quite a lot, I’d say. A paper broadly supportive of the government is worried about being denied all access to that government, while all the tips go to a rival.
This is less of a problem for business hacks. There are 100 chief executives in the FTSE 100 alone. If ten of them hate me, so what?
I was going to tell you about the compromising position. But the editors say this is a family publication.
Press release of the day
Litigation assets to fund class action lawsuits have soared to £2.2 billion, says this from law firm RPC.
Chris Ross, Partner at RPC, says: “Class actions can bring big rewards for litigation funders. They allow a funder to deploy a lot of capital at once as they are expensive cases to run, but they can also be efficient investment vehicles, because each class action can attract hundreds or thousands of claimants.”
“Pretty much every class action case that takes place in the UK now has a litigation funder sitting behind it.”
I’m far from sure this is a good thing.
Stories that will keep rolling
1) Has the self-storage boom ended, hitting returns for Safestore?
2) Isn’t it past time to properly regulate crypto?
3) Will shares keep falling for as long as interest rates are rising?