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The sports Minister Kate Hoey may be known as the Minister for Fox-hunting, but correspondence uncovered by the League Against Cruel Sports suggests this was not always so. Letters from Hoey to her Vauxhall constituents, dated 1992 and 1994, demonstrate a position at odds with her stance against anti-hunting legislation initiated by her Labour colleague, Mike Foster, in 1997. In one letter she says: "The Wild Mammals Protection Bill, introduced to Parliament by the Labour Party, sought to ban the hunting of foxes. I supported the Bill in the House of Commons and was very disappointed by its defeat." But anti-hunters wonder what has prompted Kate to start talking emotively about foxes savaging chickens. A League spokesman remarks, "She went from supporting Manchester United to being an Arsenal fan, now from anti- to pro-hunting." Hoey was unavailable for comment but her office said: "Kate has made no secret of her change of position."

EVEN IF Frank Dobson's mayoral campaign flops, Dobbo will no doubt be an endless source of amusement to his campaign team. Frank is anything but subtle, as is well documented in Alan Clark's Diaries. In a seldom- discussed passage Clark reveals: "Frank Dobson and I swap stories. His are so filthy that really they're unusable, even at a rugger club dinner. At the moment we're into `fuck', eg Question: who said, `What the fuck was that?' Answer, `The Mayor of Hiroshima'."

For somebody used to the company of Picasso, Francis Bacon, and Jean Cocteau, an evening with Joan Collins, ex-Duran Duran star Nick Rhodes and Ruby Wax may seem trite. But raconteur and art-lover John Richardson seemed to be having a whale of a time at London's Brompton Bay restaurant on Monday. He was there to launch his book The Sorcerer's Apprentice, telling the story of his friendship with Picasso and the art expert Douglas Cooper. Present was the designer Nicky Haslam, sporting a cheeky outfit made by an "exciting Belgian who makes things from old shoes". Asked whether he had been a major player in Richardson's arty scene, Haslam recoiled: "Oh no, I was only an 18-year-old boy then - insignificant. Now, of course, he hangs on my every word."

HAS HELLO! developed a sense of irony or just a very thick skin? One feature in the current issue runs: "Learning from past experience many celebrity couples are moving their new relationships out of the spotlight." An example given is Julia Roberts, whose engagement to Kiefer Sutherland was thwarted by press intrusion. Not mentioned, however, is the "curse of Hello!" whereby couples break up after declaring their undying love and allowing the mag access to their love nest. So far the curse is reported to have struck the relationships of Patsy Kensit and Jim Kerr, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, and, er, Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland.

A dog has been named as a key figure in football history. Pickles the dog, who saved the 1966 World Cup after finding the stolen Jules Rimet trophy under a bush, is placed at No 12 in Four Four Two magazine's list of 100 footie gods.

Pele, who else, wins the highest accolade, with Diego Maradona grudgingly given second place, "he cheated, he took drugs, he moaned - but he was unparalleled in his mastery of the ball."

As for Brian Clough, old big `ead himself is at No 13, one place behind Pickles the dog but 52 places above Manchester United's treble-winning manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

THE MONKEY in Thailand reportedly addicted to smoking should count itself lucky it never met John Lennon. The late Beatle once befriended a monkey backstage during a US talk show, and shared the fumes of his "wacky

baccy" with it. The end result, according to the memoirs of the host, Mike Douglas, was a spaced-out simian that was seen "running amok, leaping on to instruments, and attacking band members".