Former home secretary Alan Johnson will be talking about his latest novel One of Our Ministers is Missing when he appears at Leconfield Hall in Petworth as part of the Petworth Literary Festival on Sunday from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

The plot features a government minister in the Foreign Office who has vanished into thin air. Holidaying on Crete, Lord Bellingham had been solo trekking in the White Mountains when he mysteriously disappeared.

After a vast search and rescue operation, the local police have no leads, save for a mobile phone discarded on a cliff edge.

Mr Johnson – a former shadow chancellor, from 2010 to 2011 – is filling the slot in the schedule left vacant by Farnham’s MP Jeremy Hunt, who had to cancel his visit to save Britain’s economy from falling off a cliff as the new chancellor.

The festival’s artistic director Stewart Collins, considering how the state of the nation’s politics is likely to feature in Mr Johnson’s question and answer session, said: “It will be no bad thing to end up with the perspective of someone who’s been there and done it.”

Mr Johnson, 72, was Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle from 1997 to 2017.

His career also included spells as secretary of state for education, health, and work and pensions, universities minister and president of the board of trade.

For tickets call 01798 344576 or visit