Pandora

AS IF strife in the Lords were not enough for beleaguered Tory leader William Hague, his Commons troops don't seem to be falling into line either. At this week's Foreign Affairs Select Committee, where the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, was the witness, Pandora is told that none of the Conservative members turned up. In a week when Europe has been a recurring issue (only knocked off the headlines by Hague's sacking of Lord Cranborne), the meeting of the Committee was surely as good an opportunity as any to get Cook wriggling? Pandora contacted the Tories on the Committee - Virginia Bottomley, Sir Peter Emery, Sir John Stanley and David Wilshire - to check their excuses. Emery was on parliamentary business in Oslo, Bottomley was attending a meeting at the British Council, where she is vice-chair. As for Wilshire and Stanley, neither have yet returned our calls. Perhaps to avoid further lapses in opposition, William Hague should buy his MPs some diaries this Christmas.

LIZ HURLEY recently revealed some items she would like to find in her own Christmas stocking this year (See Pandora, 30 November). Now the perfect gift idea has arrived. IEG, an American company, is producing a series of videos entitled Sex Lives of the Stars. In it, reports the New York Post, lookalikes of Michael Jordan, Leonardo Di Caprio, Jerry Seinfeld and Hugh Grant will re-enact scenes described by women who claim to have had sexual encounters with them. Divine Brown, the Hollywood prostitute caught with Grant, will play a starring role. Happy viewing, Liz.

PANDORA HAS been contacted by a reader who claims to have been a fellow pupil of The Sunday Times' wunderkind Rupert Steiner. Readers will remember that Steiner confessed that his "first break" into journalism came from selling stories about his schoolmates to the tabloids, a confession designed to promote his new book My First Break: How Entrepreneurs Get Started. Our reader is unlikely to be turning up to the launch of Steiner's book, he writes: "I had the misfortune to be one of the pupils you refer to in your article about Rupert Steiner... Selling stories about your school mates for money is about the lowest thing you can do. This guy is a total [expletive deleted] who would stop at nothing."

YESTERDAY'S PUBLICATION of the Greater London Authority Bill reminds Pandora that Tony Banks, one of the frontrunners for the job it will create - that of London Mayor - still hasn't called to say how pleased or displeased he is with a new volume listing his witticisms. Today's excerpt from Iain Dale's The Wit and Wisdom of Tony Banks has our hero reflecting on the Thatcher government's abolition of the Greater London Council in 1986: "Abolition was an act of political malice, carried out by probably the most vindictive, dogmatic, bigoted, authoritarian Prime Minister that this country has had to suffer since the days of the Duke of Wellington - linked together through 150 years only by their own personal arrogance. It is not my intention to refight the old battles, because I cheer myself up with the old saying: `Don't get mad, get even.' "

US TALK-SHOW host and actress Rosie O'Donnell can now add her name to the list of Miami's celebrity inhabitants, having bought Madonna's mansion for $6m on a little pre-Christmas shopping spree. Madonna was unhappy there because she apparently felt that she and her baby, Lourdes, were being treated like a tourist attraction. When O'Donnell was asked by reporters at the New York Daily News if she felt the same, she replied: "Not at all. People react differently to me. I go out shopping."

ACTRESS WHOOPI Goldberg (pictured) had guests at a New York charity dinner in stitches this week. At the dinner the irrepressible star told an amazed audience that Hillary Clinton had inadvertently received an invitation to the event that ended with the words, "you better be there, bitch". Luckily the First Lady was au fait with Goldberg's way, "I just thought that it was Whoopi being Whoopi," she said.

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