IN A FITTING tribute to its former leader, the Labour party is renaming its London (and national) headquarters in Walworth Road, John Smith House. It is the first time that a political party has ever before dedicated its premises to a single politician.

The decision was taken by Labour's National Executive Committee which includes leader Tony Blair, his deputy John Prescott and former acting leader Margaret Beckett, shortly after hundreds of party activists wrote in suggesting the renaming following Smith's tragic death in May.

The initial plan was to unveil a commemorative plaque - which is being designed - on 9 September, but this has been delayed because the organisers forgot to apply to English Heritage for permission - the building in Walworth Road is listed.

English Heritage, however, says that once it receives the application, it will give the go-ahead providing the design is 'tasteful'.

None the less the renaming is not likely to happen until October. Not that the Walworth Road secretaries are too disappointed - all the party stationery has to be reheaded in the meantime.

NAMING your child 'Bing' is not, if he turns out to be tone-deaf, necessarily a sensible move, but it appears to have paid off in the case of Bing Abrahams, a 23-year-old soul singer of Norwegian-Jamaican parentage, who yesterday produced his first single - Man on a Mission.

Refreshingly different from your conventional rocker, Abrahams is not only four times Norway's champion in the martial art Tae Kwon Do, but a teetotaller to boot. 'My favourite drink is water,' he confesses 'and my goal is to always improve.'

A gentle tip: he could start, with his grammar.

THE REEMERGENCE in Tatler of one of Westminster's oldest dinner party stories - of how Geoffrey Dickens, (right) MP for Littleborough and Saddleworth, replied to a constituent: 'To my lovely Horse-face', because, on her letter, his secretary had written 'Horse-face' beneath the signature - has reminded Mr Dickens of a more recent embarrassment which he is kind enough to let me relate here.

Mr Dickens took his wife out to dinner one evening recently, when half-way through, he noticed that a man opposite was staring at him. When Mrs Dickens left to powder her nose, so too did the starer's companion, leaving him free to approach Mr Dickens.

'Are you that MP chap?' he asked Dickens who nodded, embarrassed. 'Oh] I so admire the way you speak your mind and don't mince your words,' effused the man, just as his girlfriend

reappeared. 'Darling,' he

waved her over, 'Let me introduce you to my very good friend,' a pause whilst Dickens looked both baffled and flattered - only to become crestfallen - 'Cyril Smith'

MY HEART bleeds for one young man currently in Her Majesty's employ as a missile designer. At this moment he is, I suspect, deeply regretting a former encounter in the depths of Soho. Whilst drinking there with friends not so long ago he rashly accepted a strange woman's invitation to her studio in Hammersmith. She would like, she said, to paint him - nude. To gloss over the affair - he went; he was photographed for the painting, he left and he never heard from the woman again. Imagine then his surprise last week to find himself on a range of arty postcards in the window of a stationers. As one colleague wryly pointed out, with all that exposed, it seems a bit redundant to sign the Official Secrets Act.

I COULDN'T help but be amused by Railtrack's directions to an

inspection of the new Heathrow Express construction site yesterday. The only way to get there was by car. . .

(Photographs omitted)