As the government is forced to publish confidential security advice about him, is Evgeny Lebedev’s goose cooked asks Matthew Steeples?
The Right Honourable The Lord Lebedev of Hampton in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and of Siberia in the Russian Federation (or just Evgeny ‘Two Beard’s’ to his multiple multi-millionaire mates) owns an Umbrian castle that features an especially shiny ‘industrial chic’ kitchen with lacquer cabinets by Minchilli.
That kitchen no doubt cost a fortune to install, but perhaps though he’s unlikely to be found their imitating domestic goddesses like ‘Highgella’ Lawson, the Evening Standard and Independent proprietor is now finding the heat being turned up on him in the pressure cooker that is the expense lover’s paradise that is the House of Lords.
Now with news that the government has been forced to publish “confidential information on how Evgeny Lebedev got a seat in the Lords, after a Parliamentary move from Labour,” Lebedev has finally decided to share his views.
“Openness and transparency are pillars of our democratic system, so I welcome the call for security advice about me provided to HOLAC to be released. I have nothing to hide.”
“And in the spirit of transparency here is a text to me from @Keir_Starmer: ‘Congratulations on your elevation to the House of Lords. All best wishes, Keir.’”
“There’s a war in Europe. Britain is facing the highest cost of living since the 1950s. And you choose to debate me based on no facts and pure innuendo. What’s become of you @UKLabour ?#shadowofyourformerself”
Brusquely remarking about Labour’s Sam Terry MP and Matt Western MP, the peer added:
“Thank you Madame Deputy Speaker for reminding @SamTarry this debate is about process and I remind him I have no links to the Kremlin. Never even been inside apart from the museum.”
“Can I remind @MattWestern_ that it’s not what ‘the former minister’ said. In the future he should either provide some evidence for this nonsense he speaks, or keep his mouth shut.”
Of him, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner raged:
“It’s time for the prime minister to come clean today on if, and why, he interfered with British intelligence to award a peerage to his close personal friend…. [Boris Johnson was] willing to jeopardise the security of the British public for the sake of a personal friendship.”
Responding last night on Twitter to the 41-year-old crossbencher – whom I briefly met at his father’s book launch at Northcliffe House in Kensington in September 2019 – I pointed out:
“I know James Stunt claims to be a mate of yours and we did meet at your dad’s book launch in Kensington via publishers Quiller and I must say it seems unfair you are attacked for simply being Russian, you should speak out in the House of Lords where you have a platform in my view.”
Unsurprisingly, I have yet to have a response and whilst we’re not quite yet at the stage where Lord Lebedev’s goose is totally cooked, the peer’s decision to take to Twitter rather than to speak out – as I suggested last week also – in the House of Lords is the most telling indicator in this sorry story.
Today, I again reiterate: Come on ‘Milordo’ – it’s time to return from your Umbrian castle and it’s time for you to speak up and it’s time for you to actually prove that you are more a man than a mouse.
Pictured top – The kitchen at Castello di Santa Eurasia in Umbria, Italy (left); the peer who doesn’t participate yet (right).