I was puzzling earlier this afternoon over why Michael Ashcroft had not tweeted other than in a corporate context since September 22.  Now I know why.  The launch party of Call Me Dave was told this evening that he was taken ill the day after its serialisation began.  Our proprietor has been struck down with septic shock that resulted in liver and renal failure, and consequential heart damage.

A doctor was called after he suffered severe stomach pain and vomiting in Turkey; his health deteriorated further the next day; he was flown on September 24 to America, where he spent 18 days in intensive care and his family feared for his life.  He is now believed to be out of danger and is said to be recuperating well.

There is a view in some quarters that Lord Ashcroft lavishes millions of pounds on ConservativeHome and instructs the editorial staff what to write. So this may be a suitable moment for me to say that neither is the case, and that he has always given me a freedom from interference that some editors of other publications, used as they are to it from their own proprietors, would find unusual, if not unique.

This freedom is a great gift – one of the best an editor can receive from a proprietor.  ConservativeHome sends him and his family our warmest wishes for his recovery.