Rachel Johnson - sister to Boris, if you know him - has sparked a backlash after she penned a column appearing to sympathise with Ghislaine Maxwell.

Writing in The Spectator, Johnson caused a mass spit take after she said it was hard not to feel “pity” for Maxwell, who is awaiting trial in the US on charges of grooming underage girls for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

She wrote: “It’s hard not to feel a batsqueak of pity for Ghislaine Maxwell — 500 days and counting in solitary confinement.”

She continued – and yes this is still her column, not some sort of knock off Mills & Boon –: “I intersected briefly with her at Oxford. As a fresher I wandered into Balliol JCR one day in search of its subsidised breakfast granola-and-Nescafé offering and found a shiny glamazon with naughty eyes holding court astride a table, a high-heeled boot resting on my brother Boris’s thigh.

“She gave me a pitying glance but I did manage to snag an invite to her party in Headington Hill Hall — even though I wasn’t in the same college as her and Boris.

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“I have a memory of her father, Bob, coming out in a towelling robe and telling us all to go home. I’m sure fairweather friends would not reveal they went to a Ghislaine Maxwell party: as Barbara Amiel’s brilliant memoir Friends and Enemies proves, you only know who your real chums are when you’re in the gutter.”

Reacting to it, people thought it was completely bizarre given the charges against Maxwell, which she pleaded not guilty to:

Meanwhile, in the column we never did learn whether Rachel managed to get her granola, but she also revealed her dog is having puppies, while people are having kittens over her article.

OK that’s quite enough spectating from you today, Rachel! Indy100 has contacted The Spectator and Rachel Johnson to comment on this story.

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