Pandora: Kilfoyle: I gave Geoff his 'Buff Hoon' nickname

For years it has tormented him and delighted opponents. With Geoff Hoon back in the spotlight, so his unflattering nickname, "Buff Hoon", has once again sprung to the fore. And now, it appears the origin of the former cabinet minister's moniker has been found.

The blame, it seems, lies squarely at the door of Peter Kilfoyle, the mischievous Liverpudlian former armed forces minister. Kilfoyle, not known for his reticence, worked briefly under Hoon at the MoD before resigning his post on the principle that the Labour Party had forgotten its heartlands.

Rumours that he – and not, in fact, a quick-witted member of the opposition – had been behind the nickname emerged earlier this week after Hoon, pictured, appeared before the Chilcot enquiry where he blamed Gordon Brown for army funding shortages.

Kilfoyle tells us that the quip was indeed him, commenting: "Liverpool wit is spontaneous – and cruelly insulting."

Naturally, Pandora was dying to know what Hoon would make of the revelation though, curiously, no one responded to our messages.

With friends like these, eh?

There's a mouse in Bercow's house

Oh, dear. It appears the efforts of John Bercow to "open up" the Speaker's House may have gone a little too far. Bercow's Labour activist wife, Sally, has spent much of the past 48 hours complaining of a mouse infestation in their official Palace of Westminster residence. Now the couple have been inundated with letters of advice from concerned mouse-o-philes. "Why did this mouse-lover enclose a photo of himself on the beach?" exclaims Sally. Time to call pest control?

Walters defends Mo's white lie

News that Mo Mowlam chose to hide her terminal cancer from Tony Blair ahead of being appointed to his 1997 cabinet has provoked debate across the board as to whether or not she did the right thing.

Still, one person whose opinions aren't wavering is Julie Walters, who plays the plucky politician in Mo, the film that revealed the fact.

"She was right not to be honest with him," she told Pandora at a Bafta screening of the drama on Tuesday night. "Politics was what fuelled her. She knew what an amazing talent she had and what she could do and she was right. History has shown her to be right."

Olympic councillor will give bobsleigh a miss

A Conservative Westminster councillor Tim Owen is currently feeling the heat (or should that be the chill?) after accepting a £3,300 all-expenses-paid-by-the-taxpayer fact-finding trip to Canada's Rocky Mountains to watch the forthcoming Winter Olympics. All other Olympic boroughs declined the offer. Still, Owen is staunch in his defence of the jolly: "I am not flying business class and I will not be watching the bobsleigh," he insisted yesterday. Which, naturally, changes everything.

Time to clear the diary, Alan?

As BBC bean-counters tot up what they'll save from Jonathan Ross's departure, thoughts turn to the pressing question of whom to recruit to fill the presenter's (Vivienne Westwood) shoes. Leading the odds is that other beeb funnyman Graham Norton, though Pandora rather favours the curve-ball that is Alan Carr. So does one high-profile supporter. Namely, himself. "I should go for the job!" he exclaimed at Whisky Mist's launch of their Kelly Hoppen room. "All I need to do now is kill Graham Norton and I'm set." Nothing to it.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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