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Harry Greenway won't be joining the large group of former Conservative MPs standing again at the next general election. Greenway, a colourful and often outspoken character, was Tory MP for Ealing North between 1979- 1997 and famously said that "Jesus was certainly a Conservative". But Harry's faith in his local Tory party was shattered last Friday when they failed to shortlist him for the final hustings and eventually selected Charles Walker, a company director from Battersea, to fight the seat at the next election. "I believe that I would have stood a very good chance of regaining the seat," says Harry, obviously smarting from the rejection. "A seat which I held with vigour, determination and, some say, distinction." At least his pride is still intact.

TONY BLAIR was quite surprised to read in The Guardian that he had personally intervened in the continuing Greek tragedy concerning the ownership of the Elgin marbles. Dismissing the claim, the Prime Minister's spin doctor, Alastair Campbell, yesterday dubbed the report "garbagic", thus ushering a new word into the ever-expanding New Labour vocabulary. Campbell further underlined his message by quipping: "A serious government doesn't lose its marbles." Maybe not - but it seems to have lost its dictionary.

This year's Christmas party for staff at The Sunday Times could be a bit thin on seasonal cheer. A week ago one newsdesk staffer became ill after eating at what friends of Pandora call a "divey little place in Soho".

Unfortunately, the "dive" in question also happens to be the venue for the paper's party tonight.

THE WELSH connection in Hollywood isn't just about the relationship between Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas. Ethan Hawke is currently directing Chelsea Walls, a tale inspired by the hell-raising poet Dylan Thomas. Kris Kristofferson, Natasha Richardson and Marisa Tomei will star in the film, which entwines several stories about relationships in New York's infamous Chelsea Hotel. The film also stars Hawke's wife, Uma Thurman, who he will be directing for the first time. Let's hope they work well together.

Is buying Cliff Richard's "The Millennium Prayer" a revolting act? Yes, if Cliff himself is to be believed. "I feel I've been really radical," the pop tart said recently, taking a look back over his career. "I didn't go breaking up furniture; I didn't spit at my public. I didn't rave around the place like a lunatic 12-year-old. Now I think that gets up the noses of people who think they are [radical]." No, Cliff, we just think you're dull.

BUT MAYBE Cliff has a point. Take Jet Harris, of Cliff's one-time backing band The Shadows. Jet flew off the rails in the mid-Sixties, after the sun set on the band's vulgar guitar-twanging magic. Forced to take on ever more humbling tasks to make a living, Jet turned to the bottle - paying the true price of his "radicalism". But now Jet has landed again, having left the booze far behind, with a new album, The Phoenix Rises. Tracks include the attractively titled "Beta Blocker", a tribute to the medication he has taken since suffering a mild heart attack last year. Once used to releasing albums on the mighty EMI label, Jet's latest is brought to you by the more modest Mustang Music, based in that rocking metropolis Llantwit Major, in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Blast from the past Paul Anka strikes a high note in the latest GQ. The singer, songwriter, actor and "man who gave Frank Sinatra `My Way'" is asked to nominate his musical inspirations. But rather than trot out a list of showbiz giants Anka goes his own way, naming Mahatma Gandhi, Kahlil Gibran and Winston Churchill.

Anka contends: "The human qualities we should admire are with leaders of the world, not musicians. Artists are spoilt."