Mr Cute upstages the stars in his quest for perfect romance

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FOR some newspapers yesterday the big news from the BAFTA awards nominations was not the fact that The Full Monty was up for a staggering eleven gongs, nor that Rowan Atkinson's Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie had been nominated for absolutely nothing at all.

No, the real story was that James Major, 23, son of the former Prime Minister, and Emma Noble, 24, a model and a hostess on the TV quiz show, The Price Is Right, chose the occasion to make public that they are now ... an item, writes Tim Hulse.

So devastating was the revelation that The Sun cleared a story about payouts from the Princess Diana Memorial Fund from its front page in earlier editions to make way for "Major son is dating telly babe Emma". A grinning Mr Major was pictured at the Planet Hollywood restaurant clutching Ms Noble around the waist.

"James is the first real person I've met in ages, he's wonderful. He's incredibly romantic - and so cute," cooed Ms Noble. "I was smitten the first time we met - she's gorgeous," gushed Mr Major, before adding with a somewhat ungallant note of fatalism, "I really enjoy her company, but it's early days."

They were, it seems, first introduced two weeks ago by a mutual friend at London's Cafe Royal, where Mr Major recently began work as a manager. "It has been a nightmare keeping this secret," Mr Major observed, although he was not asked why he had chosen to keep it secret or why he had now chosen to go public.

Mr Major is, of course, no stranger to secret romance. Less than two years ago at a party to celebrate a new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical he was pictured dancing passionately with Elaine Jordache, a divorcee 12 years his senior. This was shortly after Mr Major had "gone public" on his relationship with Ms Jordache, his supervisor while he was a management trainee at Marks & Spencer in Cambridge.

During the divorce case, Mr Major was named as the third party by Ms Jordache's husband, Michael, who described him as "an arrogant little prat who thinks he can help himself to any woman he wants because he is the Prime Minister's son".

The couple moved in together, but the relationship ended last May.

Ms Noble is herself no stranger to publicity. Last year she asked her lawyer to draw up a contract forcing boyfriends to pledge not to kiss and tell. The condition was that she would not have sex with them until they had signed. Ms Noble says she has not asked Mr Major to sign it because "I don't feel the need, I trust him completely".

Ms Noble is represented by Neil Reading, a thrusting young PR in the Max Clifford mould. Yesterday the jury was out on whether it was Cupid or Mr Reading who had played the most significant role in the thrilling new love story of James and Emma.

SO JUST WHAT DOES HE SEE IN HER?

Martin Knowler told the News of the World of a "frantic" session in the sand dunes at Camber Beach in East Sussex with a 16-year-old Emma. "She was an absolutely fantastic lover." Robbie New, told The Sun, "If there was such a thing as being a perfect ten sexually, she was it."

AND AN ADDED BONUS

In June, 1996, Emma spent pounds 4,000 to have her breasts enlarged from 34B to 34C.

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON?

Like his son, John Major enjoyed a long-term liaison with an older woman in his formative years, that is to say Jean Kierans. After five years he walked out and thenmet and married Norma. Could Emma Noble be the new Norma Major?

ROMANCE, MAJOR-STYLE

In 1995, he would take Jo Payne, a former girlfriend for romantic evenings at the Cock Inn and even showed her his terrapins. However, once he had taken her virginity, everything changed. "Afterwards he told me to get my clothes on and said, 'This never happened'," she said. "He just got up and walked out. James is a complete bastard and a womaniser."

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