Londoner’s Diary: Andrew Neil tells Jennifer Arcuri he’ll take action over Epstein tweet

·3-min read
Jennifer Arcuri (Getty Images)
Jennifer Arcuri (Getty Images)

Broadcaster Andrew Neil says he intends to take legal action against Boris Johnson’s former close friend Jennifer Arcuri for a social media post falsely alleging links between him and paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Arcuri posted a tweet last night falsely claiming Neil had links to Epstein, because his name appears in Epstein’s “little black book” of contacts. Neil tweeted that he would take action against the “vile and untrue allegations”, and that he was instructing his lawyer.

Arcuri, a businesswoman who worked with the PM during his time as London Mayor, alleged in May that she and Johnson had a four-year romantic relationship. She has now deleted her original tweet about Neil, but did not apologise. Neil also threatened to take legal action against Twitter users who repeated the claims.

In 2013, comedian Alan Davies was forced to settle for £15,000 after retweeting a message linking Tory peer Lord McAlpine to false child sex abuse allegations.

Neil has said previously that he never met Jeffrey Epstein, but did meet Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell three times during the Nineties. Jennifer Arcuri was approached for comment.

‘Cigar star? You’re Havana laugh’

Rafe Spall accepts his award at the Boisdale Cigar Smoker of The Year Awards (Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Rafe Spall accepts his award at the Boisdale Cigar Smoker of The Year Awards (Dave Benett/Getty Images)

RAFE Spall was on humble form last night as he picked up the Cigar Smoker of the Year Award at a bash held by Boisdale. “There are more deserving recipients,” he told the audience, “more knowledgeable people out there, better cigar smokers out there who should be up here accepting this, but probably have a slightly weaker Covid antibody profile than myself.” Spall added: “I accept this award for actor that you sort of recognise, who happens to smoke cigars, who is least worried about getting Omicron.”

Lost locks were no slap for Strong

American Express Platinum Card x Esquire In Conversation With Mark Strong And Jeremy Chan (Dave Benett)
American Express Platinum Card x Esquire In Conversation With Mark Strong And Jeremy Chan (Dave Benett)

ACTOR Mark Strong feared he’d never work again when he realised he was losing his hair. But a whole host of parts opened up, he says: “Soldiers, vicars, policeman and villains.” Typecast. And the Cruella star, who took part in a American Express Platinum and Esquire live cooking event on the Strand last night, told the audience that his male peers with hair played a few “juvenile lead parts” before realising “everybody’s trying to play those parts” and never worked again. Fortune favours the bald.

I might have been Meryl, says Walter

Dame Harriet Walter (Getty Images)
Dame Harriet Walter (Getty Images)

DAME Harriet Walter has been keeping an eye on Meryl Streep’s career and wondering if her own life could have played out differently. “I watch her, not with any rivalry obviously, but just an awareness that circumstances can make things happen,” the Sense and Sensibility and Killing Eve actor told Bustle. “There’s a bit of jealousy,” she said. Dame Harriet pointed out that, although the UK’s TV culture is strong, its film business is still “hanging on the coat-tails of the American industry”. Had her TV work been more exposed, she says: “I could have been Meryl Streep.” No rivalry, though.

Twigs branches out for film score

FKA TWIGS, whose song features in The King’s Man, was at the film’s premiere last night in Leicester Square. On the Strand, dancer Eric Underwood and actor Russell Tovey and were at the same live cooking event as Mark Strong (see above). Everyone got hungrier as the night wore on and cooking smells wafted through the venue. In Canary Wharf presenter Georgia Toffolo and Drag Race star Ella Vaday were at Boisdale’s Cigar Smoker of the Year.

SW1A

JACOB Rees-Mogg made a jibe about last year’s reported rule-breaking Downing Street party when speaking at an IEA think tank bash last night. The Leader of the House joked: “We’re all here obeying the regulations… this party is not going to be investigated by the police in a year’s time.” Will he be invited to the next knees-up?

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NORTHERN trouble for Boris Johnson. “I won’t stand for my constituents being taken for fools or treated like second-rate citizens,” thunders Durham Tory MP Richard Holden on ConHome this morning. He asks whether power cuts caused by Storm Arwen, which have lasted a week, would have happened in the Home Counties. Blue on blue.

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