Rishi Sunak says racy Jilly Cooper novels offer him ‘escapism’

Rishi Sunak has said he turns to the racy novels of Jilly Cooper to find some “escapism”.

It was first reported that the Prime Minister enjoys the raunchy books, including 1985 bestseller Riders, earlier this month and Mr Sunak confirmed the news in an appearance on ITV’s This Morning.

Asked by presenter Alison Hammond if it is true he reads the books, the Prime Minister laughed and said: “Yes that’s true. It’s unclear how that has emerged.”

He then name-checked Riders, Rivals, Polo, The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous and Appassionata, saying: “Those are my (favourites.)

“She’s done lots of different books, that’s the set of books that I like, those ones.”

The books are part of Cooper’s Rutshire Chronicles, set in the elite world of showjumping and polo and featuring the lothario Rupert Campbell-Black.

Asked about his biggest regret, Mr Sunak joked that it was having to discuss his passion for Cooper’s books, but continued: “They are good. You need to have escapism in your life, and that’s a good thing.

“So whether it’s whatever TV you watch, whatever you’re reading, it’s good to be able to get away from your day-to-day, right? And just go into a totally different place.”

Cooper’s novel Rivals, published in 1988, is currently being adapted into a TV series starring David Tennant, Aidan Turner, Emily Atack and Danny Dyer.

The Disney+ eight-part series will feature British actor Alex Hassell as Rupert Campbell-Black.