Booth Broke

Some sad news about Lauren Booth:

Indeed, so poverty-stricken is Lauren, 43, that she has just been forced to declared herself bankrupt.

Lauren, a writer, broadcaster and human rights activist who recently converted to Islam in an extra­ordinary epiphany after she visited a shrine in Iran, is named in the London Gazette as having ­petitioned for bankruptcy in the run-up to Christmas.

Among other things, her ­insolvency means she will have ­difficulty using a credit card, she cannot be a company director for up to 15 years, cannot run a ­company, is forbidden to stand as an MP, and there may even be problems over her bank account.

Extraordinarily, one of her ­creditors is Cherie, who lent her £15,000 last year, but which ­Lauren has failed to pay back. I gather Lauren wrote to her wealthy sister in April pleading for help, and Cherie reluctantly agreed to bail her out.

Now giving a flat in Muswell Hill, North London, as her address to the Bankruptcy Division of the High Court, Lauren admits her finances have been in a mess for some time.

She is in negative equity on her farmhouse in the Dordogne, where she moved six years ago, and she has described how her French idyll went wrong, saying: ‘I never trained as an accountant. We were soon in trouble, with the banks and with the taxman.’

I am told: ‘Cherie was adamant it would be strictly a short-term loan till her sister could get back on her feet. Cherie had a lawyer draw up a contract which stretched to ­several pages and insisted ­Lauren sign it before she wrote out the cheque.

‘She wanted everything done legally so she would be sure of ­getting her money back.’

Now Cherie will have to line up with all the other creditors.

Oh dear. Could those wonderful Khomeinists at the Islamic Human Rights Commission help Booth out? After all, she will be lending her name to their Israelis-are-Nazis hatefest later this month.

After all, she can hardly knock on the BBC’s door.

Alec adds: I had considered blogging about this, but in the past HP pieces on Booth’s personal life have met with steeley defences of her privacy; such as the one (lost in the site migration) of when she turned her husband’s near fatal motorcycle accident into something about her Facebook account.

As someone who is at the bottom of the financial bucket as well – and taking great satisfaction of merely passing to CAB letters relating to my much more modest debts – I remember well the vertiginous despair as I slipped that way.  I wonder if this contributed to her sudden conversion when visiting an Iranian shrine.

That said, I cannot help but wonder if her profligacy in pursuing the middle-class dream of moving to southern France on an income mainly derived from daytime television and Polly Filler pieces in tabloids, on top of her non-profit political agitation, contributed to this.

Clearly her oft-state loathing of her brother-in-law’s political actions did not stop her seeking his money.  So, to financially bankrupt, we could add morally bankrupt.