Boris Johnson beats fellow Brexiteers to get Chevening for Xmas

Written by Sebastian Whale on 23 December 2016 in Diary
Diary

Liam Fox, David Davis and the foreign secretary were originally lined up to share use of the country house.

Boris Johnson will spend Christmas at Chevening this year after shaking off competition from his fellow eurosceptic Cabinet ministers.

Theresa May said in July she wanted the 115-room residence to be shared between Liam Fox, David Davis and the foreign secretary. Her spokeswoman said: “I’m sure they’ll all be able to work together”.

The plan was put forward as the three Brexiteers will, as part of their work, "be meeting and engaging with and hosting foreign visitors and leaders and it will provide an opportunity to do that”.

But the PM last month anointed Johnson as the “sole nominee” after the venue’s trustees objected to the house-share proposal, saying it ran contrary to the act of parliament enacting the wishes of its owner, Lord Stanhope.

 

 

 

The Times reports that Johnson shortly after staked his claim to use the 17th Century residence for the festive period. After his nomination Johnson also said he would make the venue available to other ministers should they wish to make use of it.

But Fox and Davis had already cooled on the prospect of spending the Christmas holidays at the plush venue. The Brexit secretary said he would not use it other than for official purposes.

Fox meanwhile told a fringe event at the Tory party conference: “My wife is quite keen that we have a little nosy in Chevening but I’m much less concerned about it.

“I have been to Chevening before, but I haven’t been in this job, nor do I have any real intention to, for a number of reasons.”

Lord Stanhope made the 17th Century, 3,500 acre home available to the nation in 1967. An FoI request suggests that guests pay between £70 to £200 a night to stay at Chevening.

The country house is traditionally reserved for the foreign secretary, but was also shared in the last parliament between William Hague and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

 

 

Images by Press Association

 

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