Nicholas Soames defends meeting Robert Mugabe: It was purely for Auld Lang Syne
Did you hear the one about the Tory grandee and the ‘enemy of the people’?
Robert Mugabe may stand accused of crimes against humanity, widespread corruption, anti-white racial discrimination, human rights abuses, suppression of political critics and economic mismanagement.
But none of that put off Tory grandee Nicholas Soames from meeting up with the president of Zimbabwe last week.
Defending the meeting, Sir Nicholas ha now told the Today programme had only wanted to reminisce about his father's role as the last governor of Southern Rhodesia.
The late Lord Soames - whose father-in-law was Sir Winston Churchill - oversaw the transition to the independent state of Zimbabwe in 1979 and 1980.
Sir Nicholas described the meeting as "a historic moment for me and my family".
Responding to criticism from Labour MP Kate Hoey, the Eton-educated Tory grandee added: "I met him purely and entirely in a personal capacity - there was no-one present, it was just him and me.
"It was purely for Auld Lang Syne and I'm glad I did it."
Hoey, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, had called the visit a "body blow" to people who had suffered under the Mugabe regime and said the that the meeting would "pander to the vanity of a wily and ruthless dictator".
But it is not just Sir Nicholas’ Labour opponents who will have raised eyebrows at his recent movements.
Fellow Tory MP Hugo Swire, who attended the same school in Sussex as Sir Nicholas before also going on to Eton, recently hit out at Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to condemn Huge Chavez and Nicolas Maduro by noting that their "failed socialist policies have done for Venezuela what Mugabe has done to Zimbabwe”.
He added: "All are enemies of the people."