Beyond a Fringe: Tales from a reformed Establishment lackey by Andrew Mitchell
21 September 2021
Veering from the hilarious to the tragic, Andrew Mitchell’s tales from the parliamentary jungle make for one of the most entertaining political memoirs in years.
From his prep school years, straight out of Evelyn Waugh, through the army to Cambridge, the City of London and the Palace of Westminster, Mitchell has passed through a series of British institutions at a time of furious social and political change – in the process becoming rather more cynical about the British Establishment. Here, he reflects on the perils and pleasures of loyalty, whether to a party, to individuals or to one’s own principles.
He brilliantly lifts the lid on the dark arts of the government Whips’ Office (‘Whipping, like stripping, is best done in private’) and reveals how he accidentally started Boris Johnson’s political career and later naively backed him to be Prime Minister – an act which rebounded on him spectacularly.
Mitchell also writes candidly about the Plebgate fiasco, admitting: ‘This is not an easy chapter to write. I have long since buried the sheer awfulness of these events, and reflecting on them is like a dog returning to its vomit.’ The whole affair led to more than ten police officers being disciplined, dismissed and in one case imprisoned, while Mitchell himself faced a bill of millions of pounds in legal fees after losing his libel case.
Engagingly honest about his ups and downs in politics, Beyond a Fringe is crammed with hilarious political anecdotes and irresistible insider gossip from the heart of Westminster.