Pandora

THE FORMER Conservative prime minister Sir Edward Heath is not a member of the Conservative Party. Not according to the party's chief executive, Archie Norman, or the Tory Party press office.

In Bournemouth yesterday, Norman confided that, after an exhaustive search, he could not find Heath's name. This surprising fact was confirmed to Pandora by the Tory press office at Bournemouth. A spokesman said that the pro-European Heath was, as a result, not sent a ballot for the members' vote on William Hague's anti-Euro policy. However, Sir Ted is adamant that he has been a member of the Conservative Party since the Thirties. So concerned was he after Pandora rang him, that he issued a statement to the Press Association. It said: "I've always received appropriate invitations to conference and similar functions. It is in this capacity [as a member of the Conservative Party] that I will attend the party conference in Bournemouth this week." On the issue of being "a fully paid-up member", Heath said: "There are many ways of helping out constituency associations". At the very least, surely Heath's own constituents in Old Bexley and Sidcup deserve some clarification.

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EVEN BEFORE yesterday's match, Sir Ted was talking about his Conservative membership in an interview with our Chief Political Correspondent, Colin Brown, that took place at his riverside Georgian manse in Salisbury Cathedral Close.

The interview with our reporter was interrupted only once - by the arrival of Heath's companion, a large and highly vocal Egyptian goose named Pharaoh. The honking bird appeared at dusk outside the kitchen door for its usual evening supper.

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THE LITERARY agent Andrew Wylie, who earned his nickname "the Jackal" by fearlessly poaching clients such as Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and Paul Theroux from other agents and by ruthlessly negotiating huge advances on their behalf, is being investigated by the New York State Labor Department. No details are available but, says New York magazine, the investigation follows a complaint from one of Wylie's employees at his NY headquarters. A spokesman for the Division of Labor Standards confirmed this, saying "There is an open investigation at this time. We investigate every complaint." Wylie's lawyer, and the agent, declined to comment.

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SOURCES INSIDE the DTI have told Pandora of an important recent edict issued by Peter Mandelson's private office. Apparently many people who communicate with the Trade and Industry Secretary do so via e-mail, attaching their reports or files of information in a Microsoft Word format. Often these files arrive with the improvised name "mandy.doc". However, Mandelson loathes being called "Mandy". Hence the directive to refrain in future from sticking his nickname on documents. Or else.

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"DAVID BLUNKETT admires Paul Dacre's organ". So says Monday's Guardian. The Education Secretary's fondness for the Daily Mail is hardened by his stated belief that: "It is extremely well written and attractively presented." Presentation? Pandora might understand Blunkett's ability to divine this using Braille, but he gets his newspapers on audiotape. "He feels that he can make that judgement," a press officer from the Department for Education and Employment sheepishly asserted. But how? "Perhaps other people have told him this, and he believes them," the press officer added.

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THE SEARCH is on for a lookalike with acting talent to star in My Memories of Elvis, a new film co-written by the King's half-brother, soon to go into production in the US. The movie suggests that the singer (pictured) had terminal cancer at the time of his drug-induced death. So excited was Pandora by this that yesterday calls were made to the UK's leading Elvis impersonators, many of whom run their own "themed" restaurants. Up in Stockport, Michael Wong, owner of Elvis's Palace (whose culinary delights include "Blue Suede Spring Rolls" and "I Need Your Sweet & Sour Pork Tonight"), was reluctant to audition. "You know I'm Chinese...? I don't think it would be right," he said. However, an American named Liberty Mountain, currently impersonating Elvis in the UK, was interested, though wary. "I might be a little too old. I'm past 30. Besides, I don't know when and where the audition is." Details will be rushed to Mr Mountain as soon as available.

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