Pandora: Blast from the past as Boris's 'close' friend joins Policy Exchange

When Boris Johnson recently appointed Anthony Browne, a director at Policy Exchange, to the role of head of policy at City Hall, many assumed that it marked a further closening of ties between the Tories and the right-wing think tank.

After all, Boris has already had its former boss, Nick Boles, working there as his interim chief staff.

So the London Mayor may find it slightly awkward to discover that Policy Exchange has just handed a senior role at the organisation to Anna Fazackerley, the former journalist with whom he was once reported to have had an affair.

Fazackerley, previously a highly rated staff member of the Times Higher Education Supplement, has been given the newly created role of research director for arts and culture. She has spent the past two years working for Agora, an independent think tank which focuses on education and the arts.

While I'm sure it will be nothing but professional, it's hard to imagine Fazackerley's role not bringing her into contact with the Mayor. Her brief will apparently include research on the Olympics and future funding of the arts, subjects which one would imagine appear very high up in the Mayor's in-tray.

Rumours of the affair (which neither ever admitted to) emerged in 2006, when the News of the World reported that Boris had been seen visiting the London flat belonging to Fazackerley – a 29-year-old "miniskirt-wearing blonde" – three times in the space of a fortnight.

Thandie's Cinderella story

Nice to know Pandora is back on Thandie Newton's Christmas card list.

Last year, her father, Nick Newton, put green ink to paper after the column mistakenly described her as Zambian.

But at the premiere of her new movie, RocknRolla, she was more than happy to chat.

"I love premieres. We get given these beautiful dresses so it's wonderful getting ready," she said.

"But then we have to give them back freshly ironed and folded at the end. Its like playing Cinderella."

Fiona's colleagues eye up the exit

Fiona Phillips's imminent departure from GMTV at Christmas means that bubbly blonde duties will be left to her fragrant co-presenter, Penny Smith.

But even Smith, right, who joined the breakfast channel 15 years ago, admits that she may not be around for ever.

"I think John Stapleton and myself are slowly heading together for the retirement home," she told Pandora at the Tabasco-sponsored British Oyster Opening Championships on Monday evening.

Before Phillips tootles off, however, Smith is hoping to barter some time away from the sofa herself in order to meet the publishing deadline for her new book.

"I'm actually trying to take a holiday away from TV so I can finish it," she added. "I'm supposed to deliver it to the publishers by the end of October."

Top Tory to head Eton

A puff of white smoke at David Cameron's alma mater, Eton College. As widely expected, Tory brainbox William Waldegrave, a former chief secretary to the Treasury during the final years of the Major government, has been appointed the school's new Provost.

He succeeds Sir Eric Anderson, Tony Blair's favourite teacher and mentor during his time as a pupil at Fettes.

In a note to pupils and staff, Anderson wrote yesterday: "After 14 years as head master and eight as Provost I cannot pretend that leaving Eton will not be a huge wrench, but we are greatly consoled by the thought that the governing body and the Provost's Lodge will be in such good hands."

Shami calls a truce

There has been a lull in hostilities between Liberty's director, Shami Chakrabarti, and the Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham.

A row kicked off between the pair in June, when Burnham mischievously claimed in an interview that the civil rights campaigner had been engaging in "late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls" with the Tory bruiser David Davis.

At the time, Chakrabarti threatened to call in the silks. However, she's since decided to draw a line under the matter.

"I got as close to an apology as you ever get with New Labour, so I've decided to let it go," she told me at the Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year awards. "The whole thing was ridiculous."

Cruise's co-stars plead ignorance

Tom Cruise's colleagues from the cast of Valkyrie haven't exactly been rallying to his cause since the jinxed Second World War movie received yet another setback.

Last week, the film was hit by a £6m lawsuit from extras who claimed to have been injured during filming. One of its stars, Tom Wilkinson, insists he knows nothing about it.

"I'm not involved, no. Actually, I've never heard anything about that,"he tells me.

"Are you sure its true? It doesn't sound true to me. I'm not involved anyway. Sorry I couldn't help you on that."

The film is about the 20 July plot to assassinate Hitler. Ironically, Wilkinson plays Friedrich Fromm, the German officer who ends up doing the Cruisester over.

pandora@independent.co.uk

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again