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Fancy buying a flat next to Tory Central Office? Richard Womack of property surveyors Hillier Parker has just sold the freehold of 32 Smith Square and its neighbour 67 Tufton Square to a couple of property development companies, who plan to convert the latter block from offices to flats. The Tories themselves will continue to enjoy the comforts of 32 Smith Square, which is let to them on a lease expiring in 2232 at a peppercorn rental. Next door, 67 Tufton Street is let to the Government and the Conservative Party on leases expiring in June 1999.

In due course Galliard Homes and London County Estates will send in the builders and convert the Tufton Street building into upmarket flats, just a few minutes' walk from the division bell in the House of Commons.

Mr Womack said: "The Conservatives could sell the lease to Smith Square if they wanted to and get a good price. It would make a fantastic residential development." It would also ease the party's cash crisis.

Mr Womack says the previous owners of the buildings, Royal and Sun Alliance Property Investments, put them up for sale in June, just a month after the election rout of their occupants.

Some genius at the Foreign Office has very undiplomatically set the next G8 economic summit in Birmingham for 16 May - the same day as the FA Cup Final. This has sent a shiver of panic through the ranks of the footie-mad Treasury. Fanatics for the Game of Two Halves include the Chancellor Gordon Brown (who supports Raith Rovers), his financial adviser Ed Balls (Norwich), Charlie Whelan (Spurs - he was most upset at recent press reports that he was an Arsenal supporter), Treasury press spokesman Peter Curwen (Aston Villa), Tony Blair's spokesman Alistair Campbell (Burnley) and the Bank of England's Mervyn King (Aston Villa).

And then there are the foreign delegates, who may well be interested in watching the final rather than chewing the cud about interest rates. Not to mention the press. I suggest this potential disaster could be turned into a diplomatic triumph simply by providing a coach from Birmingham to Wembley for the day. Just a thought.

City law firm Linklaters has binned the "& Paines" part of its title and gained a new logo, as it celebrates its move into plush refurbished offices at One Silk Street, next to the Barbican in London. Terence Kyle, managing partner, says relocating the firm's three London offices into one site marks a watershed in its history. The firm spent pounds 55m on its new home for 1,700 head office staff. The new logo, by Saatchi & Saatchi Design, cost pounds 130,000, and looks like two grand pianos viewed from above.

One Linklaters person who will not be making the move to Silk Street is Peter Langley, who is moving to Sidley & Austin, the American law firm. He will be helping Sidley & Austin to expand its intellectual property practice in Europe.

Thorntons, the chocolate makers, are launching a new range of themed chocolates and a whole string of new shops in Britain, according to Roger Paffard, chief executive.

Mr Paffard appears to be the man for the job. He's a former managing director of Staples, the office supply company, and was the brand manager in charge of the relaunch of Persil for Lever Brothers. He also revived the Clairol hair colour brand for Bristol Myers. Now he aims to double the size of Thorntons by the year 2000. The trouble is, he's run out of European themes for chocolates, so he has turned to Barry Colenso, pastry chef at the Savoy, to come up with some more exotic ideas.

Step forward an American assortment, including Big Apple, Tumbleweed Whirl and Fudge Brownie Quarterback. Next is Caribbean and Latin American, and there are even plans for English chocolates branded as Earl Grey. Will they will taste of tea?

Mischon de Reya, solicitors to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, have received a writ from the family trust of Lord Palumbo, the Old Etonian property magnate who introduced the Princess to the firm. The writ was issued by Rugarth Investment Trust (RIT), which accuses its former legal advisers Mischons and accountancy firm Binder Hamlyn of negligence, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

According to The Lawyer magazine, Lord Palumbo's son James and daughter Annabella took part in the management of the trust's assets in the spring of 1995 following a settlement of a legal dispute with their father, in which they alleged that he had mis-handled the trust's assets, leading to hefty losses. Mischons and Binders stopped acting for RIT in May 1995.

The writ also contains a claim by the trustees, TWM Trustees, and one of the trust's companies, City Acre Property Investment Trust, against Lord Mischon and Sir Charles Matthew Farrer, the former senior partner of Farrer & Co and former solicitor to the Queen.

The companies are claiming money allegedly paid to Lord Mischon and Sir Charles for a charitable trust in May 1989 for which they acted as trustees.

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