‘I’ve something important to tell you, Phil.’
‘I’m all ears,’ the chancellor of the exchequer said, looking up from his scribblings and crossings out on a busy sheet of paper.
He wasn’t quite, but they were, Treeza thought, impressively large flaps.
‘It’s National Coming Out Day, Phil,’ she said, ‘and I just have to tell you that I’m not the person you thought I was.’
His bloodhound creases twisted into the most gruesome sympathetic pout he had ever seen.
‘Remember,’ he said softly (having read the literature), ‘you don’t have to come out, Treeza. It’s nobody’s business but yours. You can stay in your place of safety.’
‘I want to tell you, Phil. All along you’ve thought I was . . .’
‘Het . . .’
‘Yes, het up about leaving the EU, Phil – but underneath I’ve been a Brexiter all along. There – I’ve said it!’
He looked her in the eyes, his own welling with tears.
‘I had guessed you know, Treeza. The tell-tale signs were there. Look. ’ He held up the paper and she saw that he had been working out laborious sums. ‘This Brexit is going to cost us 66 billion pounds and yet you haven’t shown the slightest remorse about the damage.’
‘And you’re not one of us, Phil? There are plenty more like me in the Conservative Party, you know.’
He shook his head, sadly.
‘Never out anyone, Treeza,’ he said (having read the literature). ‘And for God’s sake don’t post any fake coming out stories. We’re in enough of a mess as it is, and I’m the poor bugger who has to carry the can.’
‘Dear Phil,’ Treeza smiled wanly. ‘But I’m glad we can still be friends.’
‘Hopefully,’ he said.