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Stanley Johnson: The day I met Leonardo DiCaprio

Former MEP talks about his new political thriller at library fund-raiser

28 July, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Stanley Johnson and Jon Snow

STANLEY Johnson re­called meeting Vladimir Putin and Leonardo DiCaprio in Moscow at a book launch event in Cecil Sharp House on Tuesday.

The former MEP and father of foreign secretary Boris Johnson was in conversation with the Channel 4 broadcaster Jon Snow about his latest work of fiction, Kompromat.

He said: “We were waiting for Leonardo to arrive and he came in through the door saying ‘Sorry I’m late but we had to stop my private plane and refuel in Helsinki’. “I thought at the time if you have a private plane, you jolly well work out how much fuel you need.”

Mr Johnson recalled how there were several opposing heads of state at the meeting, about setting up a worldwide tiger conservation plan, but that Putin had “nursed everyone through”. He said: “I thought this is a man who really has an ability to get things done. My book begins with a President Popov inviting a group to St Petersburg, laying out the world tiger conservation plan.”

The novel – written in eight weeks – suggests that a Russian leader, Igor Popov, may have masterminded a fictional Brexit in order to destabilise western Europe. Mr Snow said he did not “lie awake at night” worrying about Putin and questioned why Mr Johnson was “obsessed with Russia”, adding: “What is extraordinary about Putin is that having disposed of a belief structure of Communism, he reignited a devout orthodox Christian belief system that was extraordinarily right wing and oppressive – and found that that did the job. It was a seamless switch to orthodox Christianity.”

Mr Snow ended the event by saying there was “a lot of love in the world” and praised the amount of voluntary work done in this country.

The event raised more than £1,200 for the Primrose Hill Community Library.

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