Londoner's Diary: No one rejects the Spanish invitation (except for David Davis)

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Yesterday David Davis was accused of lacking the work ethic to run a government department. Now we hear that Davis’s manners are on the lackadaisical side as well. 

Davis had RSVPed “yes” to attending a dinner in honour of the King of Spain’s state visit earlier this summer. The banquet, held on July 13, was a white tie and tiara affair among all the glossy pageantry of the Guildhall. 

The great and the good turned up to show their respects: the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, gave an elaborate curtsey to King Felipe and Queen Letizia, Secretaries of State Liam Fox and Michael Fallon stood to attention for the royal salute, but unfortunately further down the top table at the banquet was a surprising absence: Davis was not in the place he had been assigned on the seating plan.

Instead of the European dinner, the Brexit Secretary was to be found giving an especially enthusiastic embrace to Rachel Johnson at the Spectator summer party. Quaffing Pol Roger and hobnobbing with hacks in the political rag’s steamy back garden was clearly just too good an opportunity to pass up.

Everyone hates a double booking but apparently Davis never got around to mentioning it to his hosts at the City of London Corporation. “They only found out through a back channel on the day,” our source in the Square Mile tells us. “It left them scurrying to avoid an empty chair at the top table and offending the royal party.”

But would the royal party have noticed? “They would have seen the seating plan weeks in advance,” we hear. Davis was put down as sitting next to the Spanish PM’s chief of staff, so that’s probably a yes then. 

“There was never any word from DExEU afterwards, apparently they were told just to blank it,” our source continued. “It all starts to paint a picture, really.” 

The Londoner called Davis’s DExEU department today for its version of the social snafu, only to be told that it was too busy dealing with other matters to RSVP to our queries. 

New power behind the throne at Vogue

There’s a new gatekeeper at Vogue. Deborah Ababio has been announced as the new executive assistant to the magazine’s new editor, Edward Enninful. 

Ababio will be Enninful’s right-hand woman, ensuring he is on every front row at Fashion Week, is connected to top designers and photographers and has a smooth, well-managed schedule. But she has the qualifications: she was the secret weapon of Mr Porter’s head honchos Toby Bateman and Jeremy Langmead, has worked for designer Zandra Rhodes and photography duo Mert and Marcus, and had a stint as an accessories designer. 

She may want to keep notes: Anna Wintour’s former assistant Laura Weisberger wrote The Devil Wears Prada, a fictionalised memoir of her experiences turned into a film starring Anne Hathaway, below. We’re sure Enninful’s an angel, though.

The perfect assistant? Is Ababio as good as The Devil Wears Prada’s Andy? (Picture: Allstar Collection/TRISTAR)

Quote of the Day

‘They had a permit.  The other group didn’t have a permit’

In his press conference yesterday Donald Trump praised the white supremacists in Charlottesville for filling out the correct forms. 

Yesterday Sir David Tang sadly announced he’s dying — he’s throwing a farewell to life party at the Dorchester. Now it seems he’s getting things off his chest: he’s calling out the “white, and whiter, boring and boringer” yachts of Donald Trump and Sir Philip Green. 

“I appreciate the discrepancies between so-called super yachts,” he says. “I always perceive this nettled sense of luxury on large gin-palaces: Trump’s Trump Princess and [Green’s] Lionheart.

Plastic’s not so fantastic

Get out of my pub: Jodie Kidd at yesterday’s launch

Earlier this year, model Jodie Kidd bought West Sussex pub The Half Moon. And something’s already been barred: plastic.

Yesterday Kidd, pictured, left the boozer in Kirdford in safe hands to appear at Potters Fields Park in Southwark, unveiling a giant whale made out of discarded plastic. Created by Sky Ocean Rescue and the Marine Conservation Society, it will tour the UK to raise awareness of how plastic clogs our oceans.

But Kidd was on board before she even arrived: she told us that she has banned the material from the boozer. “I said we have got to get rid of all the plastic straws,” she told us. “These little tiny things make all the difference — if we all got together we could make such a big change.”

What about plastic cups for outside drinkers? “No,” she insisted. “They have quality all the way.”

She’s certainly prepared to get serious at The Half Moon. We wondered if she is yet to tell anyone to “get out of my pub”, à la Peggy Mitchell. “I’ve used it once”, she said with a smile. “As a joke!” 

Tweet of the Day

“What exactly does the ‘alt-Left’ do? Hug people hard? Healthcare the hell out of you? Wheel those meals in with attitude?”

Actress Anika Noni Rose wonders what Donald Trump’s condemnation of the “alt-Left” means.

Mother’s instinct of the day: tennis star Serena Williams thinks her unborn child is a girl “because there I was, playing in 100 degrees, and that baby never gave me any trouble.”  A champion in the making? 

All eyes on the rain parade

Acting couple Nicholas Pinnock and Jing Lusi were at the May Fair Hotel last night to toast the anniversary of the Raindance Film Festival. This year’s programme kicks off next month, with Jack O’Connell, Sean Bean and Marianne Jean-Baptiste among the jurors. Pass the popcorn.

TV twosome: Nicholas Pinnock and Jing Lusi (Getty images)

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