TALK OF THE TOWN: Does Dame Arlene Phillips it all to a secret No 10 dance star?

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TALK OF THE TOWN: Does Dame Arlene Phillips owe her place in the Queen’s Birthday Honours to a secret No 10 dance star?

He’s known for his love of Abba’s music – a penchant shared with his best friend Carrie Symonds – but who knew Henry Newman used to be a semi-professional ballroom dancer?

I gather Downing Street aide Henry is more cha-cha-cha than cha-cha-chatty, despite Dominic Cummings’ claims that he’s the notorious No 10 ‘chatty rat’. 

And behind closed doors Henry loves nothing more than a twirl around the dancefloor with his Westminster buddies.

Given his love of ballroom, Henry will surely see former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips as a heroine, so I’m wondering if that had anything at all to do with the choreographer being made a Dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours yesterday.

He's known for his love of Abba's music – a penchant shared with his best friend Carrie Symonds – but who knew Henry Newman used to be a semi-professional ballroom dancer? Pictured: Arlene Phillips

He’s known for his love of Abba’s music – a penchant shared with his best friend Carrie Symonds – but who knew Henry Newman used to be a semi-professional ballroom dancer? Pictured: Arlene Phillips

A source says: ‘Henry used to be a semi-professional ballroom dancer, in case you are wondering why Arlene Phillips got a gong. He was – still is – rather good.’

Thirtysomething Henry is as close to Boris Johnson and the centre of power as it gets thanks to being one of Carrie’s ‘four favourite people’.

He cut his political teeth in the Cabinet Office when David Cameron was PM, leaving government when Theresa May took over, but returning as a protege of Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove when Boris replaced Mrs May.

He is now said to have his eye on the job of No 10 policy chief.

Given his love of ballroom, Henry (above) will surely see former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips as a heroine, so I'm wondering if that had anything at all to do with the choreographer being made a Dame in the Queen's Birthday Honours yesterday

Given his love of ballroom, Henry (above) will surely see former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips as a heroine, so I’m wondering if that had anything at all to do with the choreographer being made a Dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours yesterday

In April, Henry found himself at the centre of a storm when Boris’s former top adviser Cummings accused him of leaking plans for a second lockdown to newspapers. He also claimed Boris failed to fire him as it would cause ‘very serious problems’ with Carrie.

Dame Arlene, 78, who has been recognised for her services to dance and charity, has choreographed West End hits including Grease, The Wizard Of Oz and The Sound Of Music.

She became a familiar TV face after she joined the original judging panel for the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2004. The mother-of-two, made a CBE in 2013, said of her latest honour: ‘This is the highest recognition I could ever have dreamed of.’

A No 10 spokesman said of Newman’s ballroom skills: ‘He did win some competitions. He’s definitely done some dancing in the past.’

My lips are sealed, but…

Which English politician has more of an interest than most in keeping Scotland in the Union? 

I hear he has a secret mistress who lives over the border – and she is expecting. 

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