Pandora: Benn suspicious about tales of 'bully' Brown

With spinning supremo Max Clifford newly recruited to represent Christine Pratt, expect the now-notorious National Bullying Helpline boss to start fighting her corner soon.

In the meantime, the Government PR machine is firing both barrels to quash her (and Andrew Rawnsley's) suggestions of prime ministerial strong-arm tactics.

One person who claims not to recognise claims of bullying behaviour from Gordon Brown is Labour veteran Tony Benn – someone who is not, it should be noted, averse to criticising the party when the time is right.

"I think the whole story is politically motivated," reflected Benn at yesterday's Oldie literary lunch. "I'm very suspicious of it. I've met Gordon Brown on a number of occasions and he's always very friendly. There is constant pressure – I would be more surprised if he didn't get angry sometimes. I think the election is still very much in the balance."

No doubt Number 10 will be grateful of the defence – though, before they get too excited, it's not an entirely clean bill of health from Benn.

"Something I have become very worried about is the prospect of war in Iran. If there is one, I will definitely be protesting."

Speakers steer clear of drama

Michael Martin had the dubious honour of dramatic representation last night, in the BBC4 drama On Expenses (friends have been heard muttering concerns of a "stitch up" from the programme, which chronicled Heather Brooke's attempts to uncover details of MPs' expenses). The rotund former speaker declined to return Pandora's calls enquiring as to whether he would be watching. His successor, John Bercow, definitely wasn't: he was to be found in his chair. A spokesman claimed he wouldn't be recording it. Pity!

Corden keen to push charity credentials

James Corden wants to clear something up. His much-publicised new girlfriend, Julia Carey, is just like you and me.

"Everyone keeps saying she's a TV producer!" exclaims the indignant comedian. "She is a PR for Save the Children – not a producer. She's from outside the industry. That's what I like about her. She doesn't even like the industry very much. Tonight we're going straight home to bed." No need to boast.

MPs revel in their musical youth

It's back! The line up for Parliament's variety show in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support has been announced. Delightfully, it will feature seasoned performer Stephen Pound, who was forced to cancel his mooted hotpant-clad Cheeky Girl impersonation last year owing to a constituency engagement. This time he will team up with Commons wallflower Lembit Opik and Nigel Evans for a rendition of "The Laughing Policeman". Fellow performers, the House's resident rockband MP4, are said to be eyeing the competition.

Doth the lady protest too much?

"I still get really nervous when I have to go down the catwalk," complained the statuesque model Erin O'Connor at Evian's Baftas after-party. "The other day at Fashion for Relief I was sandwiched right in between Geri Halliwell and Ronnie Corbett."

It is not, dare we say, the most daunting of runway line-ups for a Vogue cover girl and London Fashion Week veteran. Perhaps she was being rather too modest? "But they are both such huge characters – even if they are, erm... small." Indeed.

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style