Jude, Sienna and yet another showbusiness 'split'

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The Independent Online

* There is news of an intriguing subplot to the real life soap-opera being played out between the so-called "golden couple" of British show business, Jude Law and Sienna Miller.

In recent months, their on-off relationship - which disintegrated in August after Law bonked his nanny - has been complicated by the fact that they share an agent , the noted PR "fixer", Ciara Parkes.

However, it now emerges that Law very quietly moved his business from Parkes's agency Public Eye to one of her biggest rival firms, Premier, a few weeks back.

The move coincided with reports that Miller had her own recent fling, with the new James Bond actor, Daniel Craig.

But sources close to the couple, above, yesterday denied rumours that Law had walked out during a row over the handling of that story.

They also said the move did not indicate that Miller and Law's relationship had broken down irrevocably.

Parkes, who spent last week in the Maldives with Miller, confirmed the split last night.

"We've represented them both for several years, but after all that has happened it became impossible," she said. "It was a difficult decision, but we decided to stay with Sienna, who we represented in the first place."

* Marco Pierre White has neatly sidestepped a claret-spitting contest with some of London's foremost moustaches.

The members of the St James' club White's, who include such senior toffs as David Cameron and Prince William, have discovered that MPW will not, after all, be naming his new restaurant after their club.

In the summer, there was controversy when it emerged that MPW intended to open an Italian called White's, just yards from the fusty club.

"I am calling a restaurant after my own name," he said then. "They cannot stop me using it."

Maybe not. But the venue in question, which opens this week, has instead been called Luciano.

A spokesman for White (the chef) denies backing down. "If he had chosen to call it White's, he'd have been entitled to," I'm told.

"There is no legal reason for the change. But because it is an Italian restaurant, he went in the end with the Italian name of his son."

* Oh, to be a fly on the wall at the Thames-side family home of Richard E Grant and his comely wife, Joan.

At the first night of Grant's new West End play, Otherwise Engaged, a reporter asked if the noted actor and director, pictured with his wife, ever settles down on the sofa to watch his most famous film, the cult classic Withnail and I.

"I can't bear to watch myself on screen," came his reply. "That's one of the good things about directing, I suppose. It means that I can watch my work without having to see myself in it. Normally, I can't bear to watch any of the films I've done."

Why so? "It's like listening to yourself on a tape recorder or taping yourself having sex with your partner and watching it back. Could you do that? It's just unbearable." No doubt!

* The pressure group Liberty's high-profile director, Shami Chakrabarti, is normally mustard keen to speak out when civil liberties are under threat.

Why, then, has she failed to utter so much as a word about the Government's attempt to ban smoking in public?

"Shami's an old-fashioned pinko, "reports a colleague. "To support smokers' rights, we'd have had to line up with a load of right-wingers. That wouldn't do. It was the same when Tony Blair banned hunting - we virtually ignored it."

Asked about the matter, a spokesman for Liberty explains: "We're a small organisation and have to prioritise the issues we work on. Since people will still have options to smoke in some places, we don't treat the smoking ban as a priority."

* Could there be a greater chancer in all Westminster than the former Downing Street spin-doctor Lance Price?

Having published a back-stabbing diary of his career with Tony Blair, Price recently launched a semi-autobiographical political novel, Time and Fate.

Although his last book was panned, Price's publishers somehow found a positive endorsement for his new one's front cover. Credited to The Times, it trumpets: "The corking political novel that Blair's Britain so badly needs."

In fact, the newspaper's correspondent was rather less flattering. He actually wrote: "Perhaps Time and Fate will be the corking political novel that Blair's Britain so badly needs, but somehow I am doubtful."

Says one former colleague: "You can take the conniving spinner out of Downing Street..."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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