Best Seat in the House. Frank Johnston.

By Virgina Fraser

Printed: 2019

Publisher: JR Books. London

Dimensions 17 × 24 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 17 x 24 x 4

Buy Now

Item information


In the original dustsheet. Red cloth binding with silver title on the spine.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

For over 33 years, Frank Johnson delighted readers and kept politicians on their toes with his irreverent reports and when he died, the Evening Standard hoardings declared: ‘Fleet Street Genius dead’. It was Johnson who coined the terms ‘chattering classes’, referred to Norman Tebbit as ‘The Chingford Strangler’, and dubbed the MP Dennis Skinner ‘The Beast of Bolsover’. There are many comic masterpieces in the book in Johnson’s dazzling and inimitable style, including his description of Margaret Thatcher’s ‘dimples of iron’, and the moment when dung was flung from the Gallery onto the Members below! There are plenty of serious moments too: the Brighton bombing, the Falklands war, the Iraq war and the mysterious death of Dr David Kelly. Johnson also writes wittily about many other subjects such as his love of opera and ballet, and his life in France with his wife Virginia. Compiled by Virginia Fraser, and with introductions from William Rees-Mogg and Simon Hoggart, the book includes intriguing responses from leading politicians and others to the satirical pieces that Frank wrote about them. Frank Johnson was the award-winning parliamentary sketch writer for The Daily Telegraph and then The Times, before becoming editor of The Spectator.

Review: Mostly funny, sometimes hysterical collection of observations of a journalist watching the daily machinations in the house, Frank Johnson brought all the MP’s down to earth cutting through the pomposity, posturing and pretentiousness without a trace of vicious sniping. In fact many of the politicians lampooned (Prescott, Tebbit, Skinner, etc.) in the book comment throughout how warmly they regarded the man it being something of almost an honour to be the object of his wit. Thoroughly recommend it.


Frank Robert Johnson (20 January 1943 – 15 December 2006) was an English journalist and editor. He was a junior reporter at the North-West Evening Mail in Barrow-in-Furness from 1965 to 1966. One of the duties of news staff was to cover sport, which was an unwelcome intrusion into the weekend. Johnson once reported the score of a Barrow rugby league match inaccurately and was robustly criticised by his editor on the Monday morning. However, he never had to cover sports again. Later, Johnson wrote for the Nottingham Evening Post, the Liverpool Echo, The Sun, NOW!, and The Daily Telegraph, where he was a parliamentary sketch writer and leader writer.

He wrote for The Times as a parliamentary sketch writer, then as a foreign correspondent in Paris and Bonn, from 1981 to 1988, before moving to The Sunday Telegraph as a columnist and editor from 1988 to 1995. He was the editor of the conservative Spectator magazine from 1995 to 1999, before returning to The Daily Telegraph.

Want to know more about this item?

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about this item. In addition, it is also possible to request more photographs if there is something specific you want illustrated.
Ask a question

Share this Page with a friend