Pandora: Brown asks aide to help with tricky job of pen-pushing

With Gordon Brown having endured a rotten week even by his standards, it seems steps are being hastily put in place to ensure his letter-writing exploits are kept in check over the coming months.

Just days after the Prime Minister was accused of making "insulting" mistakes in a handwritten letter of condolence to the mother of Jamie Janes, a young British soldier killed in Afghanistan, insiders tell me that Brown's trusted aide Kirsty McNeill is to unofficially "vet" his future scribblings before the envelopes are sealed.

"It's a very sensitive issue but there is no question of the current system remaining in place," I'm assured. "He trusts Kirsty and she is best-placed to cast a discreet eye over important handwritten correspondence when required." Originally employed by Brown as a speechwriter, Ms McNeill, 29, was promoted to the role of "adviser in charge of external affairs" in September. Colleagues have long hailed her backroom ability to understand "Gordon-speak".

Interestingly, LordMandelson has reportedly raised concerns about her level of influence and questioned her political experience.

Mozza's heading back to Merseyside

After flouncing off stage when his well-preserved quiff was scandalously struck by a plastic bottle, Morrissey could be bracing himself for a brave return to the scene of the crime. The singer was performing only his second number when the incident occurred in Liverpool on Saturday night, prompting the incensed Mancunian warbler to quit the show. The promoter of the ill-fated gig now states: "Event organisers are working with the artiste's representatives to explore all ways of re-staging the abandoned concert."

Let's hope the Scousers treat the sensitive old flower more gently next time.

I'll keep my mouth shut, says Ken

Things have come a long way since Ken Livingstone was making his name as a prominent tormentor of the Labour Party.

Livingstone, who memorably left Tony Blair eating humble pie when he was elected as London's mayor on an independent ticket back in 2000, before rejoining the Labour ranks, insists he has the welfare of his political colleagues at heart when it comes to releasing his forthcoming memoirs.

"Much to the relief of the Labour Party, I will not be publishing my autobiography until after the General Election," he assured Pandora at the London Evening Standard Top 1,000 Bash. "Many of my best friends will be fighting to keep their seats, and I will not have anything from my book used against the party."

Lording it about

It is my regrettable duty to reveal that Doctor Who is succumbing to alarmingly diva-ish tendencies. David Tennant, whose triumphant stint as the Time Lord is drawing to a close, has co-hosted Christian O'Connell's show on Absolute Radio this week. I'm informed that Tennant not only refused to drink the instant coffee intitally offered, but that a hapless lackey subsequently had to make "five cups" of the real stuff before their guest was satisfied.

Street of shame

Without wishing to cross swords with the all-powerful internet resource that is Google, I doubt I'm the only one to raise a quizzical eyebrow when using the search engine of late. While Google's front page normally prides itself on highlighting significant historical moments on the calendar, this week's British version curiously chose to mark the 40th birthday of Sesame Street rather than the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Project Manager (Procurement & Human Resources)

Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup