Old habits die hard for 'one jag' Campbell

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* Sir Menzies Campbell has only just finished his first month as the Liberal Democrat leader, but already he stands accused of breaking a key election promise.

Back in January, Pandora revealed that Campbell, then the front runner in the party's ill-tempered leadership campaign, drove a gas-guzzling, 5.3-litre, metallic blue Jaguar XJS.

Since this is hardly the sort of vehicle the tree-hugging party faithful approve of, the thirsty motor soon snowballed into a key election issue.

However, a week later, Campbell nipped the scandal in the bud, pledging, in a formal interview with this newspaper, to swap the Jag for a greener form of transport.

"I have one 20-year-old car, which has been my pride and joy," he said. "But we are all going to have to change our habits, including me."

That was three months ago. But yesterday it emerged that Campbell has still not got rid of the gas-guzzling motor.

Sources in his office say he's now attempting to renege on the promise, hoping the Jag will be forgotten about so long as he doesn't use it in public.

"It's basically a vintage car, and one of his favourite possessions," I'm told. "He never drove it all the time, and hopes to get away with just using it at weekends now he's leader."

Meanwhile, a Lib Dem spokesman was somewhat equivocal: "Ming has not got rid of his Jaguar yet, but heaven hoping, he may."

* The Eurovision song contest has come a long way since the squeaky-clean days of Bucks Fizz.

Britain's entry in next month's reprisal, the Liverpudlian rap artist Daz Sampson is reputed to have a (shall we say?) chequered past.

"On Friday, I was at the recording of the video for his single, 'Teenage Life'," says a music industry source.

"Daz is a colourful guy all right. In between takes, he was boasting about his various court appearances, and all the time he's spent 'inside'."

Fortunately, a spokesman for our latest national hero insists that talk of a criminal record is nothing more than rapperly bravado. His only court appearances, I am assured, have been for motoring offences.

"Look, it's fair to say that Daz has had a bit of a wheeler-dealer past, but he's never actually been in jail," I'm told.

"He came from the wrong side of the tracks, and had a struggle to get where he is today. But he's not a convicted criminal."

* Sharon Osbourne's CV includes many years of selfless devotion to the daily needs of her frazzled husband.

Now Osbourne is making a saintly effort to improve the lot of Ozzy's close family, too. She's offering his sisters a big break in showbusiness.

The three siblings - Jean, Trisha and Gillian - have been hired as roving reporters on the pilot of Sharon's new ITV chat-show.

"They did their first job on Tuesday," says a source close to the project. "The idea is to call them the Ozzettes, and have them interviewing celebrities on red carpets.

"It's funny because they're basically fifty-something housewives from Birmingham, and couldn't be more different to your average entertainment hacks."

Osbourne's spokesman wouldn't discuss the project yesterday, but early reports suggest that the Ozzettes have plenty to learn.

Their first outing, at a party in Soho, saw the trio unceremoniously stonewalled by the baffled actress Kathy Burke.

* When Tory politicians go on a "walkabout" in the North-west, it's traditionally a form of punishment.

In 2004, Boris Johnson was forced to pound the mean streets of Merseyside after his Spectator magazine was rude to Liverpudlians.

These days, things are different. For the Conservative trade spokesman Alan Duncan plans to interrupt his party's spring conference in Manchester this weekend to visit the city's gay village.

In the first such official tour by a Tory frontbencher, Duncan will leaflet locals before posing for cameras outside an exotic boîte called Mutz Nutz.

"It's a cracking photo-op, and will get the pink vote on-side for the local elections," reckons an aide.

* Day two of Dawn French's new West End play, and time for a second outbreak of handbags.

Yesterday, the theatre critic Michael Coveney was "pathetically" banned from the opening of Smaller, after being blacklisted by its producers.

Today, the play, which co-stars Alison Moyet, threatens to upset a more fearsome foe: daytime TV hostess, Fern Britton.

Its first act includes a comic sequence poking fun, somewhat mercilessly, at Britton's long-running weight problems.

At the opening night, this drew sharp intakes of breath from the audience, not least when Britton's waistline was compared, unfavourably, with French's own.

"Fern has publicly claimed to be happy with her size, but the truth is more complex," reports a chum. "She does have a sense of humour, but that certainly won't stop her crossing names off Christmas card lists."