Bird in soup with bishop over homeless comments

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Bird - a former rough sleeper who founded his magazine in 1991 to help people who have fallen on hard times to make a living - has launched an attack on the charity handed out to the homeless by soup kitchens.

"The soup of human kindness needs to be getting people off the streets, not giving them a reason to stay on the streets," Bird, above right, told a conference held by Westminster Council. "Stop-gap responses to an emergency simply perpetuate the emergency. And at the end of the day, no one has come up with a soup that gets people off the street."

This has caused consternation among groups such as the Salvation Army, which enjoys the support of the bishop, Richard Chartres, above.

"A basic level of support is required," a spokesman told Pandora yesterday. "There could be homeless people who have not eaten for two or three days and they need to be catered for."

The bishop himself added his voice to the condemnation of Bird's remarks. "Homeless people rely on the church, charities and local groups for food and other help," says his spokesman.

* Being descended from the rock aristocracy has its benefits. Leah Wood - daughter of the Rolling Stone, Ronnie - tells me that her new single has just been released on an independent label called Wooden Records.

"It came out today," she said on Monday night, at a new Versace boutique opening party. "It's a remix of a track that my band has been playing, called 'Contact High'."

On the subject of Wooden Records, however, Leah remained coy. And it turns out that it's because the enterprise is a piece of rather splendid nepotism. Having put out this single, it will go on to produce Wood's first album. On top of that, it will start to release Ronnie's music too.

"It's a family venture," says a spokesman. "We are going into the vault for some rare gems of Ronnie's and it'll also do any future collaborations and solo projects, after this latest tour."

There are no plans, however, for it to put out anything by Leah's brother, Jesse, who left her band last year.

* On the day that the high street brand H&M announced that they will be dropping Kate Moss from their advertising campaign, following revelations that she enjoys sniffing cocaine, it's not all bad news for the supermodel.

Friends are rallying round to her defence. Hot on the heels of Janet Street-Porter and - unlikely though it sounds - AN Wilson, comes Rupert Everett.

"What disturbs me most about the whole thing is the homophobic nature of the coverage," the openly gay actor tells me, at a London Fashion Week party sponsored by Moët. "Along with revelations of drug taking, which are supposedly negative, come headlines about her lesbianism, as if that is negative too. It's shocking the way it is reported. What's wrong with her having had sex with another woman?"

* More bad news for Big Ears. Yesterday I reported that a Labour Party member plans to take the Prime Minister to court for banning him from the party conference this year.

Now, the Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price has started muttering darkly about his intentions to renew his drive to impeach Tony Blair over the war in Iraq.

Price has spent an exciting summer holding talks with other parties on how to give his plot extra momentum.

"I am very determined about this," he says. "I don't want a Prime Minister who has ridden roughshod over democracy to avoid being brought to account."

Last November, his proposal won the support of 23 MPs. He believes a revised motion will do even better.

* Poor old Jamie Cullum. Following the derision that greeted my report that he planned to send his latest album to the head girls of England's private schools in a cunning marketing move, the little jazzman admits he's not having much luck with women.

"I got a bra thrown on stage the other day in Vienna," he says, nonplussed. "I had a pair of pants chucked at me before, but this was just a bra. There were no numbers in it - just a bra."

The 26-year-old is secretly pretty relieved about this, of course, because it means he avoids the wrath of his Brazilian girlfriend, a lawyer called Isabella.

"I don't have to deal with that attention from women because it doesn't happen," he adds. "And therefore it's very easy for both me and my girlfriend to cope with."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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