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ONE PARTY Pandora was disappointed not to be invited to was that hosted by the leading UK libel lawyer Charles Gray QC last Monday evening in the magnificent Old Hall at Gray's Inn. The reception was held to celebrate Gray's elevation to the Bench yesterday. One of his celebrated guests was Jonathan Aitken, a former client, whom he represented in a failed libel case against The Guardian and Granada TV. During that trial, Gray accused the two media groups of having "butchered" Aitken's reputation.

Earlier on Monday afternoon, Aitken, who now faces possible imprisonment if convicted on two counts of acts tending and intending to pervert the course of justice and one of perjury, was again in court, facing a injunction from The Guardian to freeze all his assets. The judge in Monday's court room was Mr. Justice Eady. He, too, was a guest at Gray's party in the Old Hall. Of course it's understandable that Gray would want to invite his former client Aitken for a drink, and to celebrate with Eady, his longtime colleague at the Bar. As the Lord Chancellor's Department told Pandora, "Judges are members of society and entitled to socialise as they wish. A person is innocent until proven guilty." Adding, "Mr. Justice Eady was only present at the function for about 30 minutes, during which time he neither saw nor had any contact with Mr. Aitken."

ON WEDNESDAY, Associated Newspapers named two new editors, both women, one from inside Northcliffe House, one from outside. Formerly at the Daily Mail and The Times before she returned to the Mail on Sunday about a year ago, Christina Appleyard becomes editor of Night & Day, the paper's general magazine. Meanwhile, at the Evening Standard, Louise Chunn takes over as editor of ES, leaving her position as deputy editor of Vogue and former editor of the women's pages at The Guardian. One cliche beloved of newspaper advertising executives is that "the magazine is the point of entry to the paper for women readers". For Appleyard and Chunn, at least, it's a grand entrance.

PANDORA'S STORY yesterday about a caustic remark by Norman Lamont has brought a response from William Hague. You will recall that Lamont criticised Hague's "new" party for lacking ideas and caring too much about the suitability of "Steven Dorrell's sweatshirt" at a "bonding weekend". On Wednesday night, Hague told Pandora, "If you'd seen the sweater that he [Dorrell] was wearing, it was worth worrying about." This exchange took place at yet another Politicos book launch. Pandora refrained from asking the Tory leader what he thought of a novelty item Politicos will be putting on sale at the forthcoming Bournemouth conference. It's a greeting card that features his photograph and the words, "On behalf of the Conservative Party, William Hague wishes you... a good hair day."

ROBIN WILLIAMS has been talking politics while promoting his forthcoming film What Dreams May Come, about a man facing his own personal heaven and hell. The Academy Award winning comic actor confides one of his personal nightmare visions of hell: "All of a sudden we go by a room, and there's Nixon going, `Wait, let me talk to you. I want to ask you a question. What's happening with Bill?' " However, Williams is one of the few comedians in America who won't crack a joke at Clinton's expense. "I cannot put another brick on the pile. I cannot stone the man."

A CONSTITUENT left a telephone message at the House of Commons for Sir Robert Smith, Lib Dem MP for Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine. As recorded on paper, it urged him to support the "Free Tebbit" campaign. While Sir Robert already supports the campaign to free Tibet, his office told Pandora they would "encourage the Chinese government to keep Norman if they've got him."

AFTER A series of skirmishes with his Miami neighbours, Sly Stallone (pictured) wants to sell up - and the interested buyer is James Sherwood's London-based Orient Express Hotels. Apparently the idea is to turn his $20m waterside pile into a luxury "villa-style" resort hotel but, reports the Miami Herald, when Orient Express invited the neighbours around on Monday night to hear their proposed plans many were unimpressed and at least one - Madonna - failed to show.