Pandora

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THE HON Nicholas Soames (pictured), Tory MP for Sussex Mid, was less than pleased when Pandora informed him of Archie Norman's revelation on Monday that Sir Edward Heath was not a fully paid-up member of the Conservatives. "The Tory Party is a bunch of... Eurosceptics!" declared the exasperated but always ebullient former Minister for the Armed Forces. "Ted Heath is the best speaker in the Commons, since Enoch died. I have nothing but praise for him." And was Soames himself a fully paid-up member of the Party? "Yes, I am. Twice over. Both in my constituency and in Westminster." As for the current state of the Tories, Soames declared that "the biggest mistake William Hague has made so far is to create a full-blown civil war. But I'm going to support William Hague. He is my leader." Spoken like a future leader?

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"OH SHUT up!" commanded Mary Soames, mother of Nicholas Soames, at a wailing police siren outside 52 Portland Place on Monday night. Almost miraculously, the noise ceased. Lady Soames had just begun trying to address the distinguished crowd gathered to celebrate the publication of her new book Speaking for Themselves: The Personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill when the obnoxious klaxon provoked this forceful show of character, one worthy of either of her parents. After silence was restored, the soft- spoken Mary graciously proceeded to thank her research assistant and Transworld editors, in the same room where Winston and Clementine celebrated their wedding reception some 90 years ago.

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WILL THE sequel to the recent Hollywood biopic The People vs Larry Flynt be called "Larry Flynt vs the US Congress"? It seemed likely, after Andrew Marshall, this newspaper's chief Washington correspondent, reported on Monday that the infamous publisher of the porn magazine Hustler had offered up to $1m for information about adulterous American politicians. Pandora has been following the story and is pleased to report that more than 300 people have called Flynt's "hot line", with 200 of them offering tips. "A majority are gonna be crank calls without any merit," Flynt told The Washington Post yesterday, but said that he would be happy if just 10 per cent were legitimate. However, he cautioned would-be callers: "The sex should have occurred before this past Sunday so as not to provoke rampant and mercenary seduction across Capitol Hill." Oh dear, it looks as though Pandora will have to unpack her bags.

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THE BATTLE between Sly Stallone and his Miami neighbours, first reported here last Friday, is heating up. As readers will recall, Madonna failed to turn up for a presentation by Orient Express Hotels, the London-based prospective purchasers who want to transform Sly's house into a luxury resort. Later on Friday night, according to the NY Daily News, Stallone had a confrontation with Madonna's close friend Ingrid Casares in her South Beach restaurant. She informed Sly that Madonna was determined to guard her privacy now that she had a child, and the last thing she wanted was a big hotel next door. Rambo's response? He told Casares that he'd gladly ask the hotel to name a suite after Madonna, and said that if the star wanted to fight him on this issue, "she can try".

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AS IF having Rambo on the rampage nearby, brandishing a state-of-the- art villa resort, wasn't enough to worry poor Madonna, she's now got the muckraking biographer

C David Heyman on her case.

Having just published his best-selling expose of Robert Kennedy, which offers such previously unpublished salacious tidbits as RFK's affair with his brother's widow Jackie, yesterday word leaked that Heyman's next subject will be Madonna. Perhaps the Material Girl and her daughter Lourdes ought both to pack up and move to Cheltenham after all.

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ALL THE coverage of Clinton's Zippergate problems has apparently been making English apple growers rather tetchy. Or so it seems after reading their latest, far-fetched press release. Complaining that the launch of the Cox's apple season was

"buried" under the Clinton news, Adrian Barlow, of the English Dessert Apple Campaign, says: "To some people the start of the apple season may appear trivial in the face of what's happening in Washington, but if Britain is to have any kind of apple season, it is vital that consumers know that

our apples

are now available."

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