In yesterday’s Daily Mail, she recounted how ten years ago, having been ‘summoned’ to Downing Street to discuss an idea for a TV programme (Goodwin is an acclaimed producer), Korski flirted with her throughout their meeting and then, as they were saying goodbye, ‘put his hand on my breast’.
‘Are you actually touching my breast?’ she asked him, at which point, she claims, ‘he dropped his hand and laughed nervously’ before Goodwin ‘swept out in what can only be called high dudgeon’.
She is careful not to over-dramatise or to cast herself as a helpless victim. Indeed, her approach to the incident is resolutely pragmatic: ‘What he had done to me in the Thatcher Drawing Room had not ruined my life.’
Goodwin’s story is both laced with self-deprecating humour and commendably balanced — which is partly what makes it so credible.
SARAH VINE: Then, not long after, Enfield released a sketch in which two posh old blokes — played by him and Paul Whitehouse — are sitting in a gentleman’s club discussing my ex, Michael Gove. Pictured: Harry Enfield in London in 2021
SARAH VINE: Everyone laughed — including Enfield, who concurred. He then said something along the lines of ‘do you mind if I have a go?’ before reaching out, grabbing them in both hands and sort of jiggling them around with a vigorous enthusiasm that, I must confess, rather took me and everyone else by surprise
SARAH VINE: Maybe that was Enfield’s way of apologising. Or at least acknowledging his behaviour. My point is: life is a rich tapestry, and not all the stitches are even. We do and say things that later, with hindsight, seem more than a shade inappropriate. Pictured: A still from Enfield’s sketch about Sarah Vine
Instead, she talks about facing a ‘genuine moral dilemma’ about whether to name Korski or not. What happened wasn’t ‘the end of the world’ — but still, if a man is going to be mayor of London, doesn’t that cast his actions in a slightly different light? Shouldn’t he be held to a higher standard than others?
On balance, Goodwin, now 61, decided that it does, and he should — and so she named him.
Korski has denied the allegations ‘in the strongest possible terms’. But perhaps the damage is done. Even though it would be almost impossible for Goodwin to prove her story or Korski to disprove it (it happened ten years ago and there were no witnesses), even the whiff of such behaviour tends to coat the nostrils in an indelible smell.
I remember Korski from those days. Super-bright, charming — and undeniably rather in love with himself, a bit like Matt Hancock. Some might call him cocky, though a more polite way of putting it would be self-assured. But as Goodwin says, that was the vibe in No. 10 back then.
‘As I waited to see him [Korski], I drank in the aroma of Downing Street, which took me back to the boys’ public school I attended [for sixth form]— a sweaty combination of testosterone and socks.’
The working culture doesn’t excuse his alleged behaviour. Then again, it could be that Korski, in his youthful enthusiasm (he would have been in his mid-30s), catastrophically misread the situation. As Goodwin says, they met at a party, then arranged over email to meet again. Perhaps he mistakenly thought there was something more on offer.
She claims he was flirtatious from the off, telling her she looked like a ‘Bond Girl’ in her sunglasses. Sexual assault — or ill-judged attempt at seduction? I would err towards the latter — especially since he backed off immediately after being rebuffed.
Sometimes these things are not malicious or predatory; sometimes it’s just a case of crossed wires, an awkward and embarrassing misunderstanding. Seen in the right light, these episodes can even be mildly amusing: so awful they’re quite funny.
Because, you see, Goodwin isn’t the only woman to have had her breasts allegedly groped at Downing Street. And I have witnesses.
Daisy Goodwin, who has accused former David Cameron aide Daniel Korski of groping her a decade ago
Daisy recounted how ten years ago, having been ‘summoned’ to Downing Street to discuss an idea for a TV programme, Korski flirted with her throughout their meeting and then, as they were saying goodbye, ‘put his hand on my breast’
Daisy Goodwin’s account of being groped by Daniel Korski, a former special adviser to David Cameron and now one of three Conservative candidates for Mayor of London, is quite shocking
Korski has denied the allegations ‘in the strongest possible terms’. But perhaps the damage is done
Because, you see, Goodwin isn’t the only woman to have had her breasts allegedly groped at Downing Street
It was at a party very early on in David Cameron’s premiership — probably late 2010. I think the event was a general ‘thank you’ to everyone — either way, the place was crammed with a mixture of friends, relatives, supporters, MPs, journalists, politicos and more.
I was standing around, as you do, glass in hand, chatting to various people, when Harry Enfield, the comedian, joined the conversation. I remember it was very loud, and everyone was a bit hyper, all over-excited about being there. Enfield, I think, was slightly in his cups.
I can’t remember what I was wearing but it must have been some kind of party dress because at one point my gay friend commented on it and said — in a fruity Oscar Wilde sort of voice — that it made my breasts look ‘rather magnificent’.
Everyone laughed — including Enfield, who concurred. He then said something along the lines of ‘do you mind if I have a go?’ before reaching out, grabbing them in both hands and sort of jiggling them around with a vigorous enthusiasm that, I must confess, rather took me and everyone else by surprise.
Afterwards, I really wasn’t sure what to make of it. I wasn’t particularly upset — after all, he did it in full view of everyone, so it wasn’t threatening or sinister. But it did rather take the wind out of my sails. In the end, I decided to file it under ‘someone having a bit of fun at my expense’.
Then, not long after, Enfield released a sketch in which two posh old blokes — played by him and Paul Whitehouse — are sitting in a gentleman’s club discussing my ex, Michael Gove.
‘I met his wife once, she’s a fine woman,’ says Enfield. ‘I wanted to grope her breasts.’
‘Did you ask her why she married a queer?’ says Whitehouse.
‘No, I wanted to grope her breasts,’ says Enfield. ‘Have you seen his wife?’
‘No . . .’ says Whitehouse.
‘You’d like to grope her breasts, you really would,’ says Enfield, before going back to his newspaper.
‘Wife’s breasts gropable,’ declares Whitehouse.
Maybe that was Enfield’s way of apologising. Or at least acknowledging his behaviour. My point is: life is a rich tapestry, and not all the stitches are even. We do and say things that later, with hindsight, seem more than a shade inappropriate. But does that make us bad people? Not necessarily. Ten years is a long time. People grow and change.
If Korski did what Goodwin alleges, then he made a stupid mistake. But should that be the end of him? Unless concrete evidence emerges of more incidents in a similar vein, no. There is not yet, nor do I hope there will ever be, a law against flirting, larking around — or simply just being a damn fool.
Research shows that electric cars cause twice as much pothole damage to roads as old-fashioned combustion engines — for the simple reason that their batteries are so heavy. Yet their owners contribute nothing to the upkeep of the network as they pay no road tax. Time to reconsider?
Poor Lewis Capaldi, who was so crippled by his Tourette’s that the crowd ended up singing his songs for him
Tragic lesson from Ukraine boy heroes
Next time either of my children complain about the fact I’ve bought supermarket own-brand of tomato sauce instead of Heinz, I shall point them firmly in the direction of two Ukrainian teenagers, Tigran Hovhannisyan and Nikita Khanganov, killed on Saturday during a gunfight with Russian forces in the occupied city of Berdyansk.
We’re talking 16-year-old boys here: they should have been chatting up girls and going to pop concerts, not wielding Kalashnikovs.
By comparison, our kids don’t know they’re born.
The inquest into the death of Nicola Bulley has confirmed what most people suspected: it was all a tragic accident.
But while no one was to blame for what happened, there is one thing I can’t forgive: the decision of the police to cast poor Nicola as some kind of menopausal drunkard. That is something her family will have to live with for ever — and it’s disgraceful.
Glasto should focus on music
Glastonbury was interesting this year (not that I went — no tickets left after they were all snapped up by the BBC). But the main acts either seemed to consist of geriatrics (Elton John, Candi Staton, Debbie Harry) or vulnerable youngsters — in particular poor Lewis Capaldi, who was so crippled by his Tourette’s that the crowd ended up singing his songs for him. Meanwhile, Lana Del Rey spent most of her time whispering into her hair.
Admittedly I was watching from the sofa, but it seemed more like an extended therapy session than a rock festival to me.
The truth is out on the Sussexes
Why are so many people suddenly popping out of the woodwork telling their ‘truth’ about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex?
First, an executive at Spotify brands them ‘f*****g grifters’, and now Jeremy Zimmer, chief executive of United Talent Agency, has said: ‘Turns out Meghan Markle was not a great audio talent, or necessarily any kind of talent . . . And you know, just because you’re famous doesn’t make you great at something.’
Looks like the Hollywood honeymoon is well and truly over.