Pandora: 'Get exclusives!' Unless you happen to be a BBC boss...

There's plenty of smirking over at the BBC Politics office in Millbank, as correspondents watch their dragon-boss, Sue Inglish, squirm during the Peter Hain dodgy undeclared donors affair.

Inglish, 54 this year, is married to the old Labour spin quack John Underwood – who happens to be a mate of Hain and was his treasurer. Inglish's husband is now in the news for setting up the controversial thinktank at the heart of Hain's problems – a thinktank without any thoughts but which masked the identity of donors to Hain's campaign to be deputy Labour leader.

Inglish was extremely bullish during last year's cash-for-honours inquiry, pushing her staff to "Get out! Get exclusives!" Her department even offered its journalists an incentive of £100 to the first hack to confirm that Tony Blair was to be questioned by police.

She appears less enthusiastic about this hoo-ha being laid bare. She disappeared from the office the moment the story broke about her husband. "She wants sleaze exclusives?" spluttered a colleague. "She could give us the exclusive on this right now!"

When contacted last night, Inglish told Pandora: "I haven't got anything to say to you," before hanging up. A BBC spokesman explained that Inglish felt it would be "inappropriate to make any editorial decisions on the coverage of Peter Hain". Right! The BBC director of news, Helen Boaden, agreed.

Most galling for Inglish must have been when her own camera crews "door-stepped" her, seeking a surprise interview with her other half. No cuppas there.

Fabio tells prosecutors: hands off my paintings

Fabio Capello is a refreshing oasis in the cultural desert that is English football – so thank goodness, in light of recent events, that his precious art collection remains intact.

Italian customs authorities yesterday raided the new England manager's home in Leganano, his accountants' offices and several other properties he owns in Milan, reportedly seizing items relating to their £7m tax investigation.

News of the bust alerted arty types, since Capello counts a fine collection of modern art among his most valuable assets, including a piece by the American abstractionist Cy Twombly, who recently had a painting sold for $8.7m (£4.3m) in New York. Not the sort of stuff you want scaly tax inspectors chucking in the back of their wagon.

"No, they cannot take it," insists his son and spokesman Pierfilippo. "All the art work is private to Fabio Capello so they cannot connect it to this."

What happened next?

Good man, that Elton, 'ad 'im in my column once.

Sir Elt and his partner David Furnish were in a South African township, visiting HIV/Aids projects funded by his Aids Foundation, ahead of shows in Johannesburg tonight and tomorrow. This Cape Town mothers2mothers charity prevents mother-to-child transmission of the virus.

Elton has also found time for pleasure; he was seen at the weekend in a game reserve, looking sunburnt.

It seems timely to hold a caption competition. Entries to the email address at the top. The best will win a bottle of something fizzy and a £50 donation to Elton's foundation in your name.

Dirty weekend

Like a crocus bursting into the sharp January air, the Evening Standard's executive editor, Anne McElvoy, surfaces writing The Spectator diary. And what a fruity dispatch from the Oxfordshire countryside!

Anne (who was not considered for the Times editorship) pleases the colonels with talk of pierced nipples, sexual fetishism, "buttock-honing walks" and a detailed description of her bathing habits: "I raced for the plug and sat in the remaining five inches, covered in gooseflesh from the navel upwards." That's enough, dear, enough!

* The Fuggin' Pharaoh, Mohamed Al Fayed, failed to stop the BBC's debate "Is the Diana inquest a waste of time and money?" The Beeb's Nicholas Witchell was at the High Court and peeved to be kept in the dark about Newsnight's plans. "It turned into a bit of a BBC bunfight," said a source.

Watch yer language, Davey

David Cameron is heading for a face-off with the hairy-nosed beetroot-face Speaker of the House, Michael Martin. On Wednesday, the Conservative leader trampled all over Parliamentary protocol by repeatedly addressing the Prime Minister with a barked "you".

Members must be referred to in the third person. What's more, speakers must not cross the white line down the centre, nor must they go closer to their opponent than two sword-lengths. Antiquated, yes, but it prevents the fantastic tie-pulling, pinching and frenzied fist fights familiar to observers of the South Korean, Australian and Russian national assemblies. Labour MP Barry Sheerman has fired a letter of complaint to the Speaker demanding he rap Cameron. Bellows Bazza: "This flagrant abuse of the rules was rehearsed and staged to gain attention."

pandora@independent.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Ashdown Group: HR Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A mainstream Secondary school in C...

Guru Careers: HR Administrator / Training Coordinator

COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: An HR Administrator / Training Coordinator is requi...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash