Isabel Oakeshott hunts Matt Hancock lookalike for new covid Whatsapp show

Isabel Oakeshott and Matt Hancock  ( TalkTV / PA Wire)
Isabel Oakeshott and Matt Hancock ( TalkTV / PA Wire)

Know anyone who looks like Matt Hancock? His nemesis Isabel Oakeshott is looking for an actor to play the former health secretary in a live show. Oakeshott, right, who co-wrote Hancock’s pandemic “diaries” last year then betrayed him by giving his WhatsApps to a newspaper, is putting on a show based on the messages.

There have been setbacks. First she says they had to move venue from the Emmanuel Centre after Hancock’s people complained about the show. Now actor Laurence Fox has said he won’t play Hancock, over a feud with co-organiser Toby Young, so the pair are seeking a new star, and someone to play Boris Johnson.

Hancock is keeping busy. Last night at a think-tank event he told liberal Tories to “stand up to the reactionaries” in their party. He also said he would never appear on Strictly.

New rules for book lover Dua

Dua Lipa (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Dua Lipa (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Popstar Dua Lipa is making a turn towards the written word. It started with her podcast, At Your Service, where she has interviewed writers like Hanya Yanagihara and Lisa Taddeo. Now she’s launched a book club for fans, who are first going to read Douglas Stuart’s Booker Prize-winning novel Shuggie Bain. Next month, Dua will do two events Hay book festival: first interviewing Stuart, then chatting about her love of books. They do call Hay the “literary Glastonbury”...

Too much cuddling?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street)

Ukraine’s President Zelensky got a big hug from Rishi Sunak at Chequers on Monday, but did politicians always embrace? Veteran journalist Michael Crick tells us a hug is “a good thing if it improves relationships”, but adds it used to be communist leaders who were known for intimacy: Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker once shared a famous kiss. “I can’t imagine Churchill or Thatcher hugging people,” Crick said.

Rory Stewart goes solo

Ex-Tory leadership hopeful Rory Stewart gave a warning about AI last night, calling the new tech a “fundamental threat to our democracy and our culture”. Stewart, who usually co-hosts a podcast with Alastair Campbell, went solo at the Guildhall for this year’s Tacitus lecture, and said our leaders are failing to take AI seriously. Is he eyeing a comeback in the technologically enhanced future?

Roxy glows at the Gherkin

Models Tiger Lily Taylor and Roxy Horner went to the London Blockchain Conference dinner at the Gherkin’s Searcys restaurant last night. Horner has just announced she is expecting a baby with her comedian partner Jack Whitehall, who has joked that he’s worried about getting less attention after the birth. Guests were treated to a maverick menu by chef Ollie Dabbous, where one of the courses was a single tulip, see right. Elsewhere, models Akuac Thiep and Charli Howard celebrated the paperback release of DJ Fat Tony’s memoir in Mayfair, while Trinny Woodall and Donna Air went to an event by The Female Quotient at The Londoner Hotel.