Londoner's Diary: Amal Clooney plots her post-maternity career move

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The maternity leave is over for Amal Clooney. The human rights barrister and wife of actor George Clooney only gave birth to twins Ella and Alexander in June but she’s already planning her next career move. 

Yesterday Clooney was confirmed as the keynote speaker at the Watermark Conference, a high-profile annual event for women in Silicon Valley. Held in San Francisco in February, she will follow in the footsteps of Hillary Clinton, who attended the inaugural conference in 2015.

“We are proud to feature Amal Clooney, a woman of strength, courage and compassion,” Watermark’s CEO Marlene Williamson says. “Hearing from Clooney and more than 100 additional leaders will encourage our attendees to widen their horizons and inspire them to make our communities a better place for all.”

The announcement is the first sign of Clooney’s return to her career, during which she has represented Julian Assange, worked on the genocide trial of Slobodan Milosevic, and attempted to persuade the British Museum to return the Elgin Marbles. 

Since the birth of the twins she and George have spent most of their time at their Lake Como property, with a flying visit to the Venice Film Festival for the premiere of George’s new film Suburbicon. But we could be seeing her closer to home soon: American sources suggest that she may have meetings at her Doughty Street Chambers office as soon as this week. 

Doughty Street has yet to confirm when Clooney will return to her desk. But will George be up to his new leading role of stay-at-home dad?

Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North America editor since 2014, launched his new book If Only They Didn’t Speak English at Daunt’s in Marylebone last night. But he almost didn’t make it. Sopel, whose book about the US looks at what he calls a “truly foreign land, except that they speak English”, came back to the UK a few days ago for the launch. “But it was touch and go whether I would have to go back because of the North Korea crisis,” he said. Surely he’d be safer here? 

Our spymaster was working for EU

George Smiley is back, and he’s a Remoaner. The iconic character makes a fleeting appearance in John le Carré’s A Legacy of Spies — see page 32 for the review — and makes it clear that his espionage efforts were for Europe, not England. 

“England all alone, a citizen of nowhere?” he laments in a brief cameo. “I’m a European… If I had a mission — if I was ever aware of one beyond our business with the enemy, it was to Europe. If I was heartless, I was heartless for Europe. If I had an unattainable ideal, it was leading Europe out of her darkness towards a new age of reason.” 

Perhaps the next book could see him assist with halting Article 50? 

Quote of the Day

Dennis Rodman talks about his BFF in North Korea (Unique Nicole/Getty Images)

‘We laugh, we sing karaoke, we do a lot of cool things together… We hardly ever talk politics’ 

Former US basketball star Dennis Rodman on his friendship with Kim Jong-un

Arty party get spaced out in Soho

Eddie Peake talks white privilege in the art world (Dave Benett/Getty Images for Tiffany & Co.)

The champagne was flowing at Soho’s Vinyl Factory last night as the art world gathered for the Tiffany & Co x Outset Studiomakers Prize ceremony, which gives promising artists free space to work for a year. 

Harper’s Bazaar editor and competition judge Justine Picardie was in attendance, as was fashion director Caroline Issa and artist Eddie Peake, who called out his industry for a lack of diversity. “I think it’s a really broad cultural shift that needs to happen,” he told The Londoner. “The onus is on white men to make the effort — and that’s including myself.” 

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s mother-in-law, Lady Juliet Tadgell, is having a significantly better week than he is. She came fifth in a Tory tombola in Kent, winning a bottle of Mumm champagne. But we doubt Rees-Mogg — who may have scuppered his chances to lead the party by revealing his opposition to gay marriage and abortion — will be popping over for a glass of bubbles: the bottle  was signed by Boris Johnson. After 

the week Jacob has had, we imagine that might leave him feeling a little flat.

Taron’s guarding the gold

Kingsman: The Golden Circle will be in cinemas later this month, with Taron Egerton, pictured, reprising his role as council estate lad-turned-secret agent Gary “Eggsy” Unwin. But the British hero has embarked on a new comic strip mission in the pages of Playboy… and it’s all about stopping Brexit. 

A new Kingsman story, titled The Big Exit and written by Rob Williams, follows Eggsy as he guards the “divorce fee” on its journey from the UK to Brussels. “‘Guard the £100 billion we’ve got to pay the EU as the exit fee’, they say,” the spy moans as he couriers the cash, which has to be paid in gold. 

The narrative sees Eggsy fend off pro-Brexit bigots, disguised as French mimes, who want to take it back to the UK, but it’s all a ruse: The Kingsmen want to steal the money themselves and donate it to the NHS and education services, a nod to the famous claim from the Leave campaign, which promised to pledge £350 million a week to the National Health Service. 

If only life imitated comic strips. 

Tweet of the Day

“I’d like to see David Davis flambé a baked Alaska tableside while pouring my Sauternes.”

Foodie Hugh Wright takes the Brexit Secretary to task for suggesting hospitality professionals are “unskilled”.

Dismissal of the Day: former MP and journalist Louise Mensch fired her lawyer Mark S Zaid on Twitter yesterday, for calling former CIA operative Evan McMullin “pathetic”. Saves a lengthy email.

Sarah’s there for her models

Sarah Ann Macklin is a role model at London Fashion Week (Dave Benett/Getty Images for Sweaty Betty)

Model and nutritionist Sarah Ann Macklin was at Carnaby Street’s new Sweaty Betty store last night. She’s ready for London Fashion Week and the launch of her own Be Well Collective, which helps models take care of themselves. “The models this week, I feel, are going to be more supported than ever before,” she said. 

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