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15Feb

Sarah Vaughan: ‘Other writers ask if I’ve got a crystal ball. Actually, I just read the news’

As she publishes a thriller about a trolled MP, and Netflix adapts her bestseller Anatomy of a Scandal, the former journalist talks about power, privilege and her unnervingly prescient novels

Sarah Vaughan has Boris Johnson to thank, at least in part, for the genesis of her bestselling thriller Anatomy of a Scandal. The former Guardian reporter was on call on a Sunday in November 2004, the day after Johnson had been sacked from the Conservative frontbench because he’d lied about having an affair with Petronella Wyatt, and Johnson had telephoned her about the story.

“It was the fact he had no compunction in lying that struck me,” says Vaughan. “There was a lot of flummery and flannel; lots of chuntering and ‘all chaps together’-ness about it. He was writing a lot for the Telegraph so there was a definite sense that we were hacks together who wouldn’t stitch each other up – but yes, he confirmed the story was true and didn’t seem to express any remorse. It was the first time I was aware of a public figure admitting to lying and not seeming to be bothered by it.”

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