Author – Sasha Swire (Little, Brown)
Sasha Swire is the daughter of John Knott and the wife of Hugh Swire. Both were MPs and, on retirement, knighted for outstanding political service. Her diaries covering the premierships of David Cameron and Theresa May, Brexit and the rise of Boris Johnson have now been published in paperback. Many political memoirs are enlightening and interesting but rather dull. Sasha Swire’s diaries are dynamite.
At functions, she found it hurtful that as a ‘wife of’ status, her views were ignored, and her presence overlooked. Not anymore, Diary of an MP’s Wife has been chosen political book of the year by The Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Mail on Sunday, New Statesman, and Financial Times.
Swire observed the great and not-so-great at close quarters: the friendships, fall-outs, scandals, and rivalries … and wrote it all down, naming names. Some considered the publication of the diaries a betrayal of friendship. One MP, later a member of the House of Lords, was getting married. He invited Sir Hugh to the wedding but did not include Hugh’s wife on the invitation. Sir Hugh asked if it was a mistake; it wasn’t.
The memoir is searingly candid, wildly indiscreet, humorous, and occasionally laugh-out-loud hilarious. Swire is an acute observer, acerbic with strongly-held opinions. She would’ve made an excellent independent member of parliament.
Swire realised Diary of an MP’s Wife would be controversial and be considered a vitriolic document of revenge. The dedication was ‘To Hugh Sorry!’ and her final sentence: I am now going to ground for the foreseeable future.
**** Reviewed by Clive Hodges