Pandora: Down and out in Hull

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The Independent Online

Violins out, please, for David Prescott, after his attempt to succeed his father, John, as the MP for Hull East sank in the Humber on Sunday night. A local lawyer, Karl Turner, won and the result is being portrayed in the constituency as a victory for the grassroots after No 10 sought to parachute in Chris Leslie, the former MP and photocopying boy for Gordon Brown.

What is not mentioned is that Mr Turner is a close family friend of the Prescotts via his father Ken, a Hull Labour councillor and old pal of JP. It was, in fact, Mr Turner's dirty and cratered Hyundai Accent which picked up a glowering Prezza when news broke of his affair with Tracey Temple. "From Two Jags to one dented Hyundai," joked one headline-writer.

Stop calling me Jewish, pleads exiled Berezovsky

The fugitive Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who has political asylum in Britain, is routinely described as Jewish. He was born to Jewish intellectuals – indeed, his patronymic middle name is Avramovich, deriving from his father, Avram – and he has made much of the institutional anti-Semitism (quotas limiting Jewish students) that thwarted his dream of studying aerospace engineering at Moscow University.

Now the tycoon, 62, who began filling his wallet flogging used cars in the Soviet economic chaos of the 1980s, seems keen to leave behind those roots. When journalists receive a call from Berezovsky's spokesman, Lord Bell, the first thought is of getting the old pointy poisoned umbrella in the back of the leg – Berezovsky and his chums have a history of attracting such attention.

Instead, Bell's surprising request is simply that everyone stops referring to his client as Jewish. "He was born into a Jewish family, but he is now Russian Orthodox," insists Lord Bell. "He converted some time ago, I think during his late forties. Yes he still owns property in Israel." This is all news to Russophiles.

It is not unheard of for Russian politicians to convert from Judaism when seeking election, because of the remaining undercurrents of anti-Semitism in Russian society and politics. Boris has complained of anti-Semitism in the past and urged Russians to revolt, saying: "Putin's regime is becoming like the Germany which Hitler built – we are seeing a return of a dictatorship of the state, using nationalist motifs as a base."

Testino focuses on Maggie Thatcher

The Peruvian photographer Mario Testino, whose portraits adorn fashion glossies, and who famously clicked the last shoot with Princess Diana, wants to photograph the former prime minister, Baroness Thatcher.

"There are plenty of people I would not consider photographing," Testino tells Pandora. "It is not only about aesthetics, because that is skin deep. I like people who have a little something behind them, you know. Politicians are usually just around for like two terms and then they've gone. So I would love to photograph Margaret Thatcher. She was amazing. When I came to England [in 1976], the country was so poor and she really gave an uplift." He added: "Actually, I should organise that."

Baroness Thatcher is ill – she was hospitalised last weekend and described by the Sky News political editor Adam Boulton as not knowing "where she was, who they were or why she was there".

Alice in wonderland

Scissors-waving Alice Temperley, whose girlish frocks are fought over in the posh changing rooms, will not be able to drink her family's home-brewed cider for much longer. The designer, right, told friends one month ago that she and her German financier husband Lars von Bennigsen were expecting their first child. The sprog is pencilled in for September.

Temperley, whose client list ranges from Claudia Schiffer to the Duchess of Cornwall, has been pestering Lars (also CEO of Temperley London) for a baby for years – they have been spliced for six – and says she feels "invigorated" by the news of the conception, birdsong presumably drifting through the orchards. Luckily, she has her own "Temperley for Two" maternity range. Knitted bonnets for the winter collection?

Hooray Henry

For all the manure heaped on the doorstep of his father Derek these past two months, young dandy Henry Conway – "blond, bouncy and one for the boys" – never looked likely to retreat from the spotlight. So it is unsurprising to hear that the fashion author and club promoter has joined the books of Alan Edwards's Outside Organisation, a public relations firm which counts Bowie, Macca, Amy Winehouse, Naomi Campbell and Led Zeppelin among its clients.

"Henry wants to reignite his social credentials," says his new spokesman. "He is going to be in charge of organising a night at Bungalow 8 as well as the one already at Mahiki. He's just done a shoot for Tatler. He has another fashion book planned too. We're putting together a suitable road map for him." Perhaps he can employ Dad as a researcher.

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