My first thought on the seven Labour breakaway MPs – OK my third thought after wondering 1. whether the Lib Dems should join the Gang of Seven, and 2. whether the ‘Dinner Party Party’ was a better name than the 'Independent Party' - was this:
3. Thank heavens the Labour splits means nobody is going to talk about my tits any more!
For those who have missed it, last week the entire world thought that I had flashed my boobs on national TV; to wit, Sky News, where I co-host a fantastically entertaining, provocative, straight-talking etc debate show called The Pledge. (I hadn’t, but we shall come to that anon. Let us pretend for the moment I did; don’t want to spoil the titty party too soon).
That was last Thursday, Valentine’s Day. The Sun popped a picture of me on Friday on the front page under a headline, ‘Brext*t.’
Guido Fawkes led with Rachel Johnson Gets Her Breasts Out Against Brexit.
In Turkey, the Yurtseverlik website was running the story on its front page. The German press was broadly appreciative, as you would expect from a country that puts up stern notices ordering ‘Kein Textil!’ throughout spas and saunas.
‘Britin zeigt Brueste gegen den Brexit!’ said WeltExpress. ‘Rachel Johnson mit Oben-ohne-Protest.’ Malta, Venezuela, Spain and Poland – it was big in Poland – but in Italy, I was virtually La Cicciolina.
‘Mondo: Brexit, la giornalista, sorella di Bros Johnson, si spoglia in diretta tv per protesta..’ said Il Fatto Quotidiano (surely no translation needed).
So yes, I went topless on national telly according to the international media, Twitter, the Sun, the Mail, the Mirror etc etc.
Only – tiny insignificant detail I know in the world of fake news – I didn’t.
What’s so WEIRD is this.
There are no pictures of my tits online.
Do you know why this might be?
Take a wild guess.
I didn’t actually show them.
It was a stunt.
I would of course walk down Whitehall in my birthday suit to stop Brexit; so I must own what happened, and the resulting storm in a D Cup (did you honestly think I wouldn’t use that at some point?) was this.
During the week that the Naked Remoaner, Cambridge academic Victoria Bateman, did a lap of honour of the TV studios starkers, I sent AS A JOKE a screenshot to Toby Sculthorp, editor of the Pledge.
In it I suggested AS A JOKE that one of the Pledge panellists should copy Bateman, as she'd sat starkers on sofas all week with such thudding regularity that I stopped even noticing her. I suggested my co-panellist Nick Ferrari, as he’s a radio star and surely his adoring millions of listeners should see more of him rather than more of me.
The editor decided my idea was brilliant but it should be me to take one for the team. ‘Then I won’t fire you,’ said the heartless brute. ‘And I’ll take you out to lunch,’ he added with evident reluctance.
We cooked up a plan whereby I’d wear a nude body stocking or boob tube and for a few seconds pretend I really had showed the goods to the rest of the panel: Carole Malone, Maajid Nawaz, June Sarpong, and Nick Ferrari.
I opened the show with a few words about Brexit leaving Britain naked and then started unbuttoning my shirt. The editor cuts to their shocked faces (he had told them to act it up).
I slipped out of shirt, tossed it to Nick Ferrari, said a couple more lines, then put it on again.
I thought it might make a nib in the sidebar of shame.
I was wrong.
Even though I’d shown considerably less of the goods than Liz Hurley on a duvet day or Princess Diana arriving in a black plunging gown at the Serpentine, or Kim Kardashian en route to the gym, I had actually bared my breasts on national TV.
It didn’t help that Sky news issued a teaser saying I had ‘bared all’ but who can blame them? If I’d been PR-ing the show, I would have done the same in their shoes. But, after that, the tabloids – the Sun editor got a notification from the Mirror and I had a call from the editor of the Daily Mail - went to town.
I was worried about my poor children. They would think I had finally lost the plot and Brexit had driven me mad. So I tweeted, ‘I was wearing a boob tube. As you were.’
The Sun and the Mail etc did follow ups, but frankly nobody was interested. Who cared?
A chap on Twitter tweeted (and OMG, until you’ve had your breasts trending on Twitter, you really haven’t lived):
‘At a time when the Tories are fulfilling their reputation as never before as the Stupid Party, who would you say is the Stupidest Tory?
C. Rachel Johnson.’
I even managed to trigger the founder of UKIP, a man called Alan Sked.
‘Boring Rachel Johnson, sister of Boris and arch-Remainer, supposedly took her top off on TV, to show solidarity with the ludicrous nude female Cambridge professor who campaigns for Remain. Neither is remotely libidinous. But Johnson faked it. The show just pixellated her upper body.’
Apart from Mr Sked, all everyone wanted to think was that I had flashed me baps on telly.
My children were amused and my husband barely mentioned it, but I’m sure that ‘Brextit’ is how – if at all – I shall be remembered, especially by my new fans and followers in the Polish and Italian press.