Rebekah, Dave, and the Chipping Norton set: Where power in Britain lies – Press – Media – The Independent
If Cotswold life is notably social, it is also notably powerful. Within a few square miles, the Prime Minister, the most powerful woman in Britain, the most powerful PR man in Britain and the daughter of the world’s leading media magnate can all be found. Anyone who wanted to claim that democracies are a sham could do worse than start here.
Neighbours talk of a barbecue a few weeks ago where the alcohol flowed, and David Cameron and Rebekah Brooks are known to be regular visitors at each other’s houses, “forever popping round for supper”, according to one friend. They are known to have had dinner with each other at least once over Christmas (with James Murdoch), and were seen together at a drinks party in a neighbouring manor house on Boxing Day, in defiance of those who thought the PM should not get too close to representatives of a company seeking to take over BSkyB.
Of big houses, there is no shortage. But in the past decade, the mix of occupants has changed from nobs and bankers to include a mix of celebrities and politicos. When Cameron came to the area 10 years ago, he rented a cottage from Lord Chadlington, the brother of John Gummer, before buying a farmhouse in the hamlet of Dean when he won the seat of Witney. Matthew Freud and Elisabeth Murdoch began renting China Corner from the Duke of Marlborough’s Blenheim Palace estate, before buying Burford Priory for £6m three years ago. Rebekah Wade followed suit, renting at Blenheim before moving in with her new husband, Charlie Brooks (part of a long-established Cotswold family and a friend of Cameron’s brother, Alex), to his converted barn between Sarsden and Churchill.