Internet scandal of the MP and the topless model

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The Independent Online

* Frank Dobson was welcomed back to the House of Commons this week after his daunting heart bypass operation.

Barely has the former health minister eased back into the parliamentary saddle, however, and an online prank threatens to give his ticker some unwanted jip.

A cybernerd darkens Dobbo's good name by "outing" him as an old flame of mouthy topless model Jodie Marsh. ("Is an egg a vegetable?") The online encyclopaedia Wikipedia claimed that Marsh's former relationships "include nightclub boss Fran Cosgrave, male model Calum Best and Labour MP Frank Dobson".

It's a surprising statement: Marsh hails from the seedier end of the celebrity cesspit and Dobson has been happily married for nearly 40 years. Either Westminster's power couples have got odder or this is a dent in the Britannica aspirations of the cyber tome.

Safe to assume the latter. The offending item has since been removed - just as Tony Blair's entry was updated to remove claims he was both "gay" and "George Bush's bitch boy".

Pandora's colleague saw Dobson at the urinals at a recent West Ham football match and said he looked "like an escaped inmate from an institute" with his beard and woolly hat. But the MP otherwise appears to be in rude health, having shed his roly-poly Santa Claus appearance.

He looks forward to causing the Prime Minister a few headaches, and jokes that the whips - frustrated by his independent-minded voting - wanted him to take another six months' rest.

* Telly types flocked to the Groucho Club on Wednesday to celebrate production legend Michael Hurll's 50 years in the business.

The marathon anecdote session began with Hurll promising: "Tonight will be like watching Britney Spears get out of a taxi. You never know what you'll see and hear but it'll probably be more unpleasant than you expected."

His former colleagues include Bob Hope ("didn't like him"), Bing Crosby ("miserable man") and Michael Jackson ("he wanted to know where the little boy's room was").

Chris Tarrant was busy charming fellow guests (some of them male) and stood on Pandora's toe. He apologised profusely before telling me about the forthcoming 30th anniversary reunion of Saturday morning TV's Tiswas.

"The other presenters including Lenny [Henry] have said yes, so on Friday we'll think about what footage to use.

"Kenny Everett has helped us. I know he died a while back, but he left loads of Tiswas tapes. Otherwise we'd be buggered because they deleted archives."

Word has it that Sir Trevor McDonald is in line for a repeat gunging.

* The curse of the glossies strikes again! Yesterday, it was reported that Hollywood starlet Drew Barrymore has split from her long-term boyfriend Fabrizio Moretti.

The timing is unfortunate, since Barrymore had just given a gushing interview to this month's Harper's Bazaar, extolling her beau who works as a drummer for scruffy rock band The Strokes.

"I'm so in love with Fabrizio," she said. "He is so beautiful, so smart - scholastically unparalleled, speaks five languages, knows art history, literature, is worldly, musical, religiously well-educated, enthusiastic, and I love his family."

It calls to mind the interview fellow blonde Kate Hudson gave to Elle magazine, singing the praises of rock husband Chris Robinson weeks before they parted amid (denied) rumours of infidelity.

* The Telegraph purports to lead the nu-meejah cyber revolution. The paper's US editor, Toby Harnden, has invited a "fandango of vituperative comment" on his blog, however, after writing an inaccurate report of "hooded" Saddam's hanging long before the torturer stepped on to the trapdoor.

He offers a rather pathetic explanation ("no matter how much you hedge and speculate, the reality will always mischievously diverge"), before urging readers to complain: "Make my day."

They have posted comments calling him "a shit of a man" and suggesting: "Why don't you take up window cleaning?" One writes: "Your head is clearly buried deeply up your arse." Another warns: "Wind your neck in, Sonny Jim, or else the noose that sent Saddam to his doom may tighten around you."

* Following the British Ambassador to Thailand's Monty Python impressions and recent Pirates of Penzance performance: more colourful goings-on at our Bangkok embassy to distract staff from talk of a Thai counter-coup.

A female employee has pioneered a new function of the diplomatic bag, using it to receive a sex toy from Blighty. The top brass got mad with her for such impropriety and ordered her to send it back (by mail).

I'm told, in less than diplomatic language: "She argues that Bangkok is OK for the blokes because of the girly bars. But she can't get a bloke coz they're all crap or off shagging thin Thai birds. So she needs the vibrator."

The lady is taking this one all the way to the Ambassador's desk. Pandora backs the sexual liberation of the Foreign Office. Make love, not war!

pandora@independent.co.uk

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