Beauty queens in ugly bust-up

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The Independent Online
The Miss Europe 97 beauty contest, due to be held this weekend in Ukraine, has been thrown into disarray after Miss England, Miss Wales, Miss Ireland and seven others stalked out of the competition amid a volley of complaints about lousy food, grubby bed linen, and spartan accommodation.

Most, including the two British entrants, flew home yesterday from the former Soviet republic after deciding that they could no longer go ahead with the contest, which is scheduled for Saturday.

The women were lodging at a residence outside Kiev, once used by Communist leaders. It is considered luxurious by Ukrainians but is said to be sparse compared with a luxury hotel in the West.

A British Embassy spokeswoman said there appeared to have been a gap "between what was expected of the women" and what they thought was reasonable. Misses Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denwark also quit the contest. Organisers said the show would still go on.

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