Election '97: Mellor takes on Sir James

David Mellor launched an attack on his Referendum Party rival for his Putney constituency in west London yesterday, calling Sir James Goldsmith a "playboy politician".

Unveiling a pounds 75,000 advertising campaign opposing a fifth terminal at Heathrow airport, the Tory MP said the Referendum Party leader's flirtation with politics was "little more than an act of eccentricity".

Using Terminal Five as an example, Mr Mellor said: "When the Putney Society wrote to all the candidates asking them their views about Terminal Five someone on his [Goldsmith's] team wrote back and said he couldn't really say anything because he hadn't formulated any opinions."