FITTINGLY for one of the most important elections in this country’s history, turnout smashed expectations yesterday – and we’re talking of the bars, pubs and restaurants of London, rather than of the polling stations.
The City, eager to know what the next government will have in store for them, flocked to parties as the results began to flow in. Anyone who was anyone put in an appearance at Skylon at the Royal Festival Hall for the Thomson Reuters election night party – hosted by deputy chairman Niall Fitzgerald – which is famed for keeping the champagne flowing into the wee hours.
The Capitalist spotted former JP Morgan Cazenove chief executive Naguib Kheraj schmoozing the crowd, presumably crossing his fingers for a Cameron win after donating £25,000 to the Tories a couple of weeks ago.
He was joined by fellow City heavyweights Stuart Popham, the senior partner at law firm Clifford Chance, who chatted merrily with CBI president Helen Alexander; Standard Chartered boss Peter Sands with his novelist wife Betsy Tobin; Slaughter and May’s star corporate and M&A partner Nigel Boardman; former Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan; Nomura director and ex-London Stock Exchange chief Clara Furse; and British Airways non-executive Baroness Kingsmill, a Labour peer.
Something tells me that cancellations of top-level 8am meetings this morning is going to rocket.
TAKING A PUNT
Elsewhere in the city saw the Sports Café on Haymarket play host to hundreds for its own election night party, decorated with copious amounts of red and blue balloons and with a special area dedicated to spread betting, in case well-oiled customers felt obliged to have a cheeky eleventh-hour punt.
BGC Partners, the inter-dealer broker, headed to the glamorous Ritz hotel on Piccadilly to host its own gathering, in the lounge at the über-swanky Ritz Club Casino.
Guests supped on finest champagne and wines, feasted on a buffet of king prawns, fresh houmous and flatbreads, chicken and sumptuously-crafted desserts – while the neighbouring casino room was on hand to ease the tension when early seats swung to the Left.
But the prize for election party gimmick of the night went to New Century Media, the PR outfit founded by former South Antrim MP David Burnside.
New Century hosted a raft of top businessmen, celebrities and media figures at their offices on the Embankment – including Brian Winterflood, founder of the City market-making firm of the same name, David Scott, managing partner of Vestra Wealth, and even Nancy Dell’Olio, ex-England manager Sven Goran Eriksson’s glamorous former squeeze.
Talking point of the night were two enormous ice statues of David Cameron and Gordon Brown.
The two party leaders – looking awfully well-toned, The Capitalist must say – started to melt as soon as the party began, but managed to stay intact long enough for plenty of fun to be had – since the statues were designed with holes in their heads into which vodka could be poured directly down the gullets of happy guests. No prizes for guessing where the stream of vodka exited the nude statues’ bodies...