Londoner's Diary: Rosena Allin-Khan scores highly in the fantasy league

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Still stuck with the prehistoric stereotype that women don’t understand the offside rule? Then keep an eye on Rosena Allin-Khan, the shadow sports minister, who’s proving that she’s the woman for the job by riding high in Fantasy Premier League. The online league asks football fans to create their ideal teams, and earn points when their players do well in real life. Allin-Khan is on impressive form. 

The MP for Tooting, who took over that constituency from Sadiq Khan last year, is ranked at 27,732 out of almost five million on the international rankings, with 247 points. That puts her in the top one per cent.

Her team, perhaps presciently, is called Catch Me If You Khan, and includes Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Chelsea defenderDavid Luiz and recent Chelsea arrival Álvaro Morata.

“As a Liverpool fan I’m gutted Morata joined Chelsea but I’m delighted I selected him for my fantasy team,” Allin-Khan tells us. “It would make me happier still if Theresa May was substituted for Jeremy Corbyn at No 10 anytime this season though.”

Tracey Crouch, the sports minister and Allin-Khan’s Conservative counterpart, coached a junior girls’ team before becoming a minister, and has played as both a right winger and centre forward. If there’s ever a question of who knows more about the beautiful game, there’s only one way to resolve it: Crouch must declare her fantasy team too. 

Jessica Fellowes launched her new novel The Mitford Murders last night with a party at Hatchards in Piccadilly. The author is the niece of Julian Fellowes and the book could be the successor to Downton Abbey. “We’ve got lots of very good conversations in that direction,” Fellowes told us. “Nothing I’m allowed to say right now. I would love to get to see it as another strand of the Mitford Murders. A bit like the Crown,” she said. Sounds like a Netflix hit to us. 

Politicians are abandoning their parties

Welcome to London, Politico! Sorry no one turned up to your party. The media company, which has a strong following in Washington and Brussels, arrived in London last night, with a party in St James’s to launch its new morning briefing, London Playbook. 

Rachel Johnson did show up  but no fellow Johnsons or political grandees could make it. “This session of parliament is going to be a nightmare for MPs and ministers doing anything outside of Westminster as whips will insist they stay within voting distance,” former Europe minister and long-serving Labour MP and Brexit author Denis MacShane told The Londoner.  “In the EU, Politico has succeeded in making Europe and Brussels a sexy news story.” And Brexit has destroyed the political classes’ social lives.

Quote of the Day

Puns and buns: Paul Hollywood, Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith (Channel 4)

‘This didn’t get the finger treatment at all’

Prue Leith takes up the soggy bottom mantle by inserting a few dodgy puns into The Great British Bake Off

How about a bike made from booze barrels?

Bike blowout: Sienna Guillory, Richard Rankin and Clara Theobold

ALCOHOL and cycling don’t necessarily go  together but a new collaboration sees two brands think outside the box to make them the perfect combination. Last night Glenmorangie launched a new product with Renovo bicycles: a bike made of the casks used in the whisky-making process. The party, appropriately held at Behind the Bike Shed in Old Street, brought together guests including rapper Mikill Pane, actress Sienna Guillory and the Royal Ballet’s Edward Watson. Varied company, but who wouldn’t get on their bike for a wee dram? 

Theresa May was mocked this week for serving chicken lasagne at Chequers — hardly a traditional way to serve the Italian favourite. But Giorgio Locatelli gives her the thumbs-up. “We have a restaurant in Dubai so there are restrictions on the meat we can use, and chicken is something they really like,” he 

said at the launch of his new book Made at Home at the Italian Ambassador’s residence. “I’ve never done chicken lasagne though. But with food it’s difficult to say ‘this is the real one, this isn’t’.”

Hillary recalls classic insults

Clinton’s favourite: Mary Beard (Getty)

It turns out Mary Beard, The Londoner’s favourite classicist, has a new fan: Hillary Clinton. The former US presidential candidate has a new book out called What Happened, in which she analyses some of the vitriol aimed at her. At which point, in comes Mary to the story. 

“Mary Beard, the classics professor at the University of Cambridge, observed that this venom harkened back to an earlier time,” Clinton writes. “One popular image among Trump supporters depicted Trump holding up my severed head, like Perseus lifting high the head of Medusa.”

In the same passage Clinton also discusses The Handmaid’s Tale and writes that she felt like Game of Thrones’ Queen Cersei Lannister, who was marched through the streets by religious zealots. 

“See, people tell me to hate Hillary,” The New Statesman’s Helen Lewis tweeted. “But did Bernie’s [Sanders] book reference Game of Thrones, Mary Beard and Margaret Atwood on a single page? No.” 

Clinton will be in town for the London Literature Festival next month. Perhaps she and Beard could have a debrief? 

SKIVE of the day: 250 Air Berlin pilots called in sick, believed to be in protest at redundancies at the airline. Must be an airborne virus.

Ewan’s aiming to lose the lard

Ewan McGregor will be hard to miss on the roads despite his camouflage attire. The actor dons a pair of military-inspired leggings in his latest selfie as he vows to quit the cigs and get back in shape after gaining weight for his role in Fargo season three. Smoking hot look, Ewan.

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