Diary: An arresting opportunity for Ed's former right-hand woman


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The Independent Online

The only well-known candidates to show an interest in joining the first wave of directly elected police commissioners are still Labour politicians, though it is a Conservative policy. The latest is Tony Lloyd, chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, who has been a Manchester MP since 1983 and is likely to be Manchester's first police commissioner.

If he stands and is elected, there will be a vacancy in Manchester Central, a Labour seat with a majority, in 2010, of 10,439. One rumour doing the rounds is that this could be a berth for Ed Miliband's staffer, Lucy Powell, who narrowly failed to take Manchester Withington off the Liberal Democrats in 2010. She was Miliband's acting chief of staff until the Archbishop of Canterbury's former advisor, Tim Livsey, was brought in over her head in December.

A party spokesman said: "The official position is that Tony Lloyd has not declared his intentions yet, but Lucy has kept up her links with Manchester, she lives there and came incredibly close to winning last time."

BBC sick as a parrot over Redknapp

The competition between the myriad of rolling media outlets to be first with the news claimed an embarrassing casualty yesterday, when BBC News 24 reported live that Harry Redknapp had been found guilty of tax evasion.

James Pearce, a sports news correspondent, had a nightmare 30 seconds on screen as he was saying one thing, while a colleague off screen was trying to correct him. "They have been cleared of all charges. We have got some wrong information that has come through here," he said, eventually.

Ratner takes a look at oldies' baubles

The Jewish Chronicle reports that "jewellery boss" Gerald Ratner, the man who will never live down the day he trashed his own brand, visited the Nightingale home in South London – "where he addressed residents on the ups and downs of his business life. He was also approached by audience members for an impromptu valuation of their jewellery." And he's the right man to approach because if your jewellery is "crap" you know that you can trust him to say so.

Bloggers need to learn a bit about spin

A gaping split within the Guido Fawkes' outfit was visible momentarily yesterday. As the celebrated website's founder and head honcho, Paul Staines, completed his evidence to the Leveson inquiry, he remarked: "Diarists like me don't do each other over." This caused an immediate note of dissent from his subaltern, Harry Coles, who tweeted: "@andymcsmith has a pop every couple of months..."

It will not look good if these guys make a practice of disagreeing in public. They should know that the Westminster way is to use spin doctors to put the knife in by proxy.

Heather Mills, journalist no more

There is a fascinating line of inquiry that could be pursued when Heather Mills gives evidence to the Leveson inquiry today about the morality and mindset of a wannabe journalist who tried to land a nice job by stealing the identity of someone more talented.

In 1998, Steve Haywood, a TV director, was interviewing applicants for a job co-presenting a series called Clear My Name, one of whom arrived with a CV and cuttings that identified her as Heather Mills, Home Affairs correspondent of The Observer, and previously of The Independent.

Haywood's wife, Moira, was a friend of Heather Mills, so he introduced himself. The response suggested the applicant was indeed his wife's friend. But a comical misunderstanding ensued when Haywood went home and asked his wife why she had never said that her friend had only one leg. Moira was emphatic that she had two. To settle the argument, Steve rang up a journalist friend to ask how many legs Heather Mills had. "Three, you idiot," was the reply.

This was not the only time the future Lady McCartney pretended to be the other, more likeable Heather Mills. One journalist who had been led to believe that the one-legged Heather really was The Observer correspondent was surprised to see her byline when she was abroad on holiday. Mills replied without batting an eyelid that she had taken a laptop with her.

It would be interesting to hear her explanation of this deceit, but she will probably not be asked. All we will hear is her whining complaints about how journalists have behaved towards her.