Pandora: A challenger who could teach Davis a thing or two about terror

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The Independent Online

The result of the by-election in Haltemprice and Howden on Thursday looks like a foregone conclusion, with David Davis expected to regain his seat with a sound majority.

The lack of contest is a shame, since Pandora has learnt that a particularly interesting challenger was blocked from standing against Davis.

Paul Dadge, whose face became known by millions after he was photographed helping a victim of the 7/7 bombings, had hoped to run on an independent ticket.

The former fire fighter is a vociferous supporter of the new 42-day detention law and has been dismayed by Davis's ferocious opposition to the Bill.

His candidacy was disqualified, however, after it emerged that two of his 10 required nominations were by people not local to the constituency. One of his supporters had even nominated another person.

"I respect David Davis for following his passion but when 80 per cent of people in independent polls are supporting 42 days' detention, then I think it's important that people remember to vote along those lines," he tells me.

"A lot of people will vote because they support the Conservative party, but they shouldn't. People should remember that David Davis resigned for one reason and that is what they should base their vote on."

Dadge has instead been supporting the candidacy of the anti-rape campaigner Jill Saward. As for the cock-up which prevented him from standing, he refuses to go into details.

"I prefer not to talk about it because, frankly, I'm supporting someone else now and it makes me look like a bit of a tit."

Gavin is handy on court too

Viewers of Sunday's epic Wimbledon final will no doubt have noticed British rock star Gavin Rossdale and his singer wife Gwen Stefani giving Roger Federer some much-needed support. Rossdale's presence wasn't mere tokenism. He's apparently a mustard-keen tennis fan and is actually pretty handy with a racket himself. "Gavin plays a lot of tennis and is a very good player," says his spokesman. "He also gets involved in a lot of charity games. I think he and Roger met through all of that and have been friends for some time."

Madge sticks around for Guy's premieres

Madonna's insistence that her marriage to Guy Ritchie isn't in trouble will relieve backers of her husband's new movie, RocknRolla.

Inspecting the Queen of Pop's hectic itinerary for her upcoming Sticky and Sweet world tour, she appears to have arranged the dates to coincide snugly with the flick's two biggest premieres.

The film, which stars Thandie Newton, is due to be released in the UK in early September, just as Madge is tottering around northern Europe. It comes out in the US at the end of October when she performs shows on America's east coast.

This should make trips to the big premieres simple – and thus provide them with the sort of publicity money can't buy.

Holding on to the flame

Of all the accusations often levelled at David Cameron's integrity, he can at least refute the one that he's a "fair weather" music fan.

The Conservative leader, who in the past has listed his favourite bands as The Smiths and The Killers, pitched up with his young family at the Cornbury Music Festival in Oxfordshire on Saturday, despite most of the afternoon being a muddy wash-out.

Cowering under the nearest tarpaulin, Pandora spotted Cameron heading off to watch The Bangles.

Bum note for Ken pals

One man who didn't choose to join in the festival spirit over the weekend, however, was Ken Livingstone.

The former Mayor of London had arranged for six VIP passes to the 02 Wireless gig in Hyde Park for himself and his chums, who were keen to see Fatboy Slim perform on Saturday. However, the event's organisers were none too chuffed when the group pitched up without Ken in tow.

"We arranged these passes with Ken's office on the understanding he was coming," said one.

"We thought that was a bit cheeky, so we didn't let them in."

Beyond the fringe with Johnny

Johnny Vaughan has decided to come clean over his bald spot.

The chirpy presenter of Capital Radio's breakfast show, right, admits that for all these years he's been duping us by adopting a Bobby Charlton-style comb-over.

"I shaved it all off after realising I was a 'crafty comber' – I was trying to hide my receding hairline," he says.

"My one big regret is that I didn't do it years ago. Men need to be upfront about it. As soon as it starts receding, shave it off."

Pandora often spots Vaughan, who is interviewed in this week's edition of Closer magazine, watching Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. I trust his new confidence means that next season he won't feel compelled to watch games wearing his usual cap.