Has invitation to far-right hit OU president's prospects?

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The Independent Online

Presidents of the world-famous Oxford Union often go on to achieve high political office – William Gladstone, HH Asquith, Benazir Bhutto, Tariq Ali, Tony Benn, Boris Johnson and William Hague to name a few. So what next for the student society's current president Luke Tryl, after he invited the Holocaust denier, David Irving, and the leader of the far-right British National Party, Nick Griffin, to speak to his members?

The Defence Secretary Des Browne led a group of politicians and public figures to cancel their engagements at the Oxford Union in protest. Now: could Tryl's open arms affect any future prospects for employment in David Cameron's Conservative Party?

Contemporaries of Tryl at Oxford seem to have got the impression that he may be off to work at the Tories' London headquarters in the new year, with rumours of an internship as an aide to Cameron's strategist, Steve Hilton.

Tryl, a former chairman of the Halifax branch of the party's youth wing Conservative Future, who is on a one-year sabbatical from his studies, told Pandora: "It [the job] is something I might have considered. I haven't made any formal application to do that.

"But yes someone suggested that I apply for it. I'm considering lots of other things at the moment and I haven't made any definite plans for next year yet."

The Conservatives appeared to pour water on Tryl's immediate prospects, commenting: "Nobody has any knowledge of this."

Wild Horses: Ronnie's filly goes under the hammer

When Ronnie Wood finally puts his bass guitar in the attic, the glamorous and potentially lucrative life of a racehorse breeder awaits him.

Yesterday, the former hellraiser made a surprise appearance at Goffs, the Irish bloodstock auction house in County Kildare, arriving by Rolls-Royce to view the sale of an unnamed foal, sired by the pacy colt Elusive City and delivered by one of Ronnie's mares, Joleah. The two littl'uns are pictured above – Ronnie on the right.

"It was rock'n'roll," gushes one onlooker. "He suddenly arrived with a Channel 4 camera crew. They're making a film about his love of racing. There was a lot of rubber-necking."

The young filly eventually went under the hammer for ¿24,000 (£17,000) and may have quite a future ahead of her. Her half-brother, Sandymount Earl, won the Irish Cesarewitch last month, with proud owner Wood in the stands.

More bounce to the ounce

The Big Daddy of venture capitalism, Sir Ronald Cohen, laughed away the Prime Minister's absence from the National Portrait Gallery at the launch of his book, The Second Bounce Of The Ball – about how to guess what's going to happen before everyone else does.

Ronnie C is a friend of Gordo who donated £1.8m to Labour but was recently portrayed as wavering between support for Brown and Cameron.

Sir Ronnie tells Pandora he hopes his book will be adapted for the screen. "My wife is a film producer," he says (Sharon Harel-Cohen produced Gosford Park). "I keep suggesting to her, 'This could be turned into a film, couldn't it?' Then you have the sequels: The Third Bounce, The Fourth Bounce. Certainly, it could work on television. I'm very interested." Just don't compare him to Sir Alan Sugar.


Arch-dumbo Matthew Mellon claims that being married to the Jimmy Choo shoe magnate Tamara Mellon severed his manhood. "When your wife makes $100m during the course of your marriage, it's quite a shocker," the Texan oil and banking billionheir tells the American fashion magazine W. "I felt like my masculinity had been stripped from me. I feel like my bollocks are in a jar, like a Damien Hirst artwork on the mantelpiece."

* The bookmaker William Hill gives odds of 16/1 that Alan Johnson will be leader of the Labour Party by the end of 2009. Meanwhile, former England footballer Jamie Redknapp offered me 100/1 at the weekend that his Dad, the Portsmouth gaffer Harry, will become the next England coach.

Hamilton's perilous pit-stop

Lewis Hamilton's bosses at McLaren have not allowed the rookie Formula 1 driver to down tools and flee the coalface simply because a Brazilian steward has waved the final chequered flag of the season.

"Contrary to what you might think, Lewis is not relaxing in Switzerland at the moment, but is in fact in very chilly Finland going through some strict, harsh training," said the McLaren managing director, Jonathan Neale, at the Walpole Awards on Monday night. "He really is the product of hard work."

Hamilton is camped at the Kuortane Sports Institute, a high-tech centre which sounds not altogether unlike Dolph Lundgren's gym in Rocky IV. So the ordeal is a bit more sophisticated than jumping in an icy fjord, then?

"Well, there is an element of that too," chuckles Hamilton's spokeswoman.

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