Pandora: Hain has 'no immediate plans' to pay Labour £16,000 he owes

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The Independent Online

The prolonged failure by Parliament's Tango amnesiac, Peter Hain, to declare £103,000 of donations, has not only riled the Electoral Commission. It has also nobbled the work of his own party.

Work and Pensions Secretary Hain originally declared that he had been given £82,000 last summer to fight for Labour's deputy leadership.

He only revealed the other hundred grand of gifts after questioning.

Labour required all candidates in its leadership elections to pay 15 per cent of their donations to party coffers. But Hain paid the Labour Party only £11,550 in September, appearing to have "forgotten" to pay the other £16,223.40. With cabinet colleagues and grassroots activists hardly queuing to support him, it does not seem the best time to shortchange them.

Hain is not offering an immediate payment of the money owed. His spokesman says there is no timetable, but "Peter has agreed" to cough up in the end.

Time to pass around the cap again?

"He could raise the money through more donations," suggests an unfriendly Labour MP, "but then he would have to pay 15 per cent on that. There could be no end in sight for Peter. He should put his hand in his own pocket. He's paid enough."

Some speculate that No 10 would not be disappointed if Hain became the first cabinet minister to resign to spend more time with his sunbed, but this seems a most cumbersome time to lose one's ministerial salary.

Jonathan downs his crown for a woolly hat

Heaving bosoms and rumpy pumpy abound! The Tudors will return to our television sets this year, and it is pleasing to hear that Henry VIII will return invigorated from an Alpine break.

The thrusting young monarch, more commonly known as the actor Jonathan Rhys Meyer has just returned from the high- altitude resort of Chamonix. The 30-year-old enjoyed heavy snowfall and told guests at a neighbouring chalet that he thoroughly enjoyed his first time on the piste. He also raved about a helicopter flight over the Mont Blanc glaciers.

The second series of The Tudors is not for faint hearts, Rhys Meyer promised. I hope I won't give away too much if I say that Anne Boleyn, played by the English actress Natalie Dormer, 25, is beheaded by a French swordsman, while Henry tucks into a particularly bloody royal swan. Peter O'Toole plays the Pope.

Diana plays the Feild

Jonny Wilkinson's turn at the Rugby World Cup only just attracted more column inches than did his comely new companion, Shelley Jenkins. But what of his previous paramour, the M&S model-turned-Sky Sports News presenter Diana Stewart?

Ms Stewart split from Wilko in 2005 and has since romanced the plate-faced Lilliputian presenter, Declan Donnelly, 32. She was recently spotted out in London "canoodling" with screen totty JJ Feild, the upcoming actor last seen puckering up to Billie Piper in the adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Ruby In the Smoke. Their spokesmen declined to comment.

Mr Feild is 6ft 1in.

More discord

The British composer Keith Burstein has persuaded Rabinder Singh QC of Matrix, the chambers also home to Cherie Blair, to represent his libel case against the Evening Standard at the European Court of Human Rights. Mr Burstein argued that the paper had unfairly suggested that his opera featuring suicide bombers, Manifest Destiny, glorified terrorism.

The case has turned into an ugly posh version of the fight scene from West Side Story, with both sides shouting freedom of expression. Mr Burstein says his case was not fairly heard. The Standard has thus far triumphed and the composer's decision to head for Strasbourg adds to his hefty legal bill.

Gill's groovy wheels

Brushing his hair forward to cover his expanding forehead no longer cuts it. So Adrian Gill has new yoof credentials to silence those who accuse him of suffering a mid-life crisis. The scourge of restaurateurs has ditched his garish yellow Bentley and now proudly pootles around Chelsea in a black, boy racer Mini Cooper S. Wicked! He has kept the personal licence plate B4 AAG.

At least the fellow has his childcare duties to keep him young. Gill has two 10-month-old twins, the progeny of his girlfriend Nicola Formby, the former model now said to be agitating for a ring.

Piers Morgan claimed in his memoirs that Formby once showed him naked pictures of herself over lunch: "You could see everything, and the poses were explicit," Morgan said. "Ms Formby sprawled here, legs akimbo there, thrusting her bottom everywhere. She obviously thinks she's an absolute sex kitten, but I fear the mists of time have taken their toll a little." All the same: enough to make the heart skip like you're 16 again!

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