Let the Leveson Lovers pursue their passion - as long as the press can too

It’s been hard not to smirk with schadenfreude at the exposure of the ‘Leveson Lovers’ – Hugh Grant’s lawyer, the permatanned David Sherborne and the doe-eyed Carine Patry Hoskins, junior counsel to the inquiry – who became enamoured during the hearings.

Not since manna dropped from heaven has a revelation been so gratefully received by the gentlemen of the press, who were particularly keen to take revenge on Leveson, his humungous report, and his conclusions. He recommended that the press should be subject to regulation underwired by statute, a proposal that was agreed by the three main parties but rejected last week by most newspaper groups who put forward their own proposal.

The courtroom couple have admitted they are ‘an item’ so, on the face of it, this is a gift to the critics of the epic £6 million inquiry into the culture, ethics and practice of the press.

David Sherborne (left) and Carine Patry Hoskins (right) have admitted they are 'an item' but deny that they coupled during the hearing

However, the exquisite pair deny that they coupled during the hearing, and maintain their tendresse for each other had no bearing on its outcome.

Indeed, they piquantly claim that it was only after proceedings wrapped up last November that they succumbed to their aching needs.

Now, some have argued that this story stretches credulity somewhat, given that the pair were spotted dawdling over coffee and making glad-eyes at each other during the interminable afternoons listening to witnesses in a stifling courtroom. But most of all, critics raise that week in Santorini. What? You missed the blissful Santorini bit?

Well, when questions started to be raised about the pair, the couple’s spokesman advanced the argument that they slipped off to the enchanted Greek isle to stroll along the bijou streets and to sunbathe on the famous beaches composed of, um, volcanic ‘ejecta’. Indeed, they flew to Santorini in August – ie while the inquiry was in full spate – only to ‘discuss the possibility of a future relationship’.

The Sun newspaper is even offering readers a romantic holiday in teasing tribute to the apparent platonic restraint of the loved-up lawyers.

‘Been flirting like mad with each other at work but still unsure whether to cross that line of love and start a full-blown affair? We are giving away a FREE holiday for two romantic readers to the beautiful Greek island of Santorini!’

Lord Justice Leveson recommended that the press should be subject to regulation underwired by statute, a proposal that was agreed by the three main parties but rejected last week by most newspaper groups who put forward their own proposal

So it’s all very amusing – for us, at any rate. Plus ‘going to Santorini’ now enters the lexicon, along with ‘crossing the Rubicon’ when it comes to statutory regulation of the press, and ‘Ugandan discussions’, when it comes to sexual relations.

But whether we believe the couple or not (and Lord Leveson does), what of it? The mixed courtroom is a febrile cauldron of raw emotion and high drama .  .  . and long stretches of tedium.

According to two QCs I’ve spoken to, what happened to David and Carine is par for the course.

‘Divorce, infidelity, long cases, alcohol, boredom, away from home; it happens all the time,’ one male QC said.

A female QC explained: ‘Don’t forget, the Bar attracts flamboyant types, who need highs.

There are actual orgies between married lawyers on the criminal circuit, especially in the South East.

‘You’re there for weeks on end, both sides staying in the same hotel, without your spouses. The excitement peaks at the beginning and the end of a case, but in the middle it’s humdrum, and that’s when the eyes start wandering around the courtroom and you think, mmm, I wonder what he looks like without his wig?’

The marital fallout from what is called ‘Bar Disease’ is legendary. Having attended a couple of afternoon sessions at Leveson, and tried not to nod off, I admit I wondered for a moment what David Sherborne would look like in swimming trunks, and I’m not surprised that pretty Carine ended up with him.

So I am not going to rush to judgment, and this is why: I think it’s important to live and let live. For the purposes of a plea-bargain, when it comes to Santorini I am prepared to accept that all David and Carine did was a bit of plate-smashing, Greek dancing and ouzo-drinking, to a soundtrack of Nana Mouskouri and Demis Roussos.

Unlike some of my colleagues, so far as I’m concerned there is no need for a long, expensive inquiry into the ethics and practice of the legal profession, whether they shared a room on the island or not.

No. Let lawyers do their thing, even if that includes running off with each other and bedhopping their way around provincial hotels.

David Sherborne and Carine Patry Hoskins have admitted they went on a break to the island of Santorini (pictured) in Greece

Let lawyers be free to bonk each other, I say, or fly off to the Cyclades to discuss whether they are going to bonk each other, as much as they please. And politicians, too, for that matter.

All I ask in return, as the powers that be consider the two rival proposals for the press, is this.

As the book of Isaiah says, the wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard lie down with the kid.

Just let the newspapers do their own thing too, within reason of course, and everyone shall get on famously, as the waters cover the sea.


Cheeky look: Paltrow in her revealing dress

Wow, thanks for inventing the 'sidebum' Gwynnie...

Louise Mensch has admitted she’s had a facelift.

I’m so glad she puts it all out there, and also delighted Gwynnie has worn a long dress that showed her bottom, thus bravely pioneering ‘sidebum’ to add to the now classic ‘sideboob’ (as worked by Anne Hathaway and Michelle Dockery).

This week, Louise actually tweeted a picture of herself – a ‘selfie’ – in her hotpants.

Please keep going, girls. I honestly don’t know where we female columnists would be without you.


May I pass on a useful tip as we head into the dreaded beach-body bikini season so beloved of all women’s mags?

I’ve just been for a bra fitting at Chantelle, which was a revelation. Not only was I in the wrong cup size (modesty prevents me from spilling further details), but it turns out I still don’t know how to put one on: it’s pitch forward, stand up straight, and manoeuvre the girls into the correct position.

‘It only takes 30 seconds a day,’ the fitter told me. Corsetieres say it, and it’s true. For ‘body confidence’, you don’t need more clothes or a beach body.

You just need a bra that actually fits, and to know how to put on. I am now proudly wearing a ‘Poupoupidou’ in 34DD – oops, I did it again.


I couldn't watch the Broadchurch finale on Monday night as I was otherwise detained in Devon.

In order not to know whodunit, I had to enter a media blackout until Tuesday night. I carefully managed to avoid anything about the gripping ITV detective serial by closing my eyes on the Tube, not listening to the radio etc.

So I was very pleased with myself till I got home. Without thinking I opened that day’s Daily Mail and the headline ‘IT WAS JOE!’ screamed at me. Still... good though, wasn’t it?

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