Presenting the London Magazine literary prize to Sophie Hampton at the House of Commons, former arts minister Lord Gowrie told of a woman in Edna O’Brien’s novel, The Love Object, who was having an affair with a married man.


“She was infuriated by his habit of folding his trousers too precisely before getting into bed with her,” said Gowrie, teasing host Jeremy Bradshaw. “I expect you are a trouser folder, Jeremy.”


Gowrie later told me the man in question was John Freeman, 97, last surviving member of the Attlee government, former New Statesman editor, British ambassador in Washington, BBC Face to Face interviewer and TV boss. He is a good friend of O’Brien, one of the judges of the London Magazine competition.

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