Pandora: MP with a sideline in West End comedy

In what may be the most creative post-expenses show of bravado yet, the Labour MP Tom Levitt – ranked eighth in recent accounts of the most claim-happy MPs – is to cut his teeth as a stand-up comic with a high-profile slot in the West End.

We're told that the aspiring funnyman will make his London debut next Monday at the 450-capacity Leicester Square Theatre, as part of a pre-Edinburgh gala by the musical comedy duo Frisky & Mannish. It will be only his second-ever performance since spending time honing his skills at the Amused Moose comedy school, alma mater of that other renowned parliamentary wit Lembit Opik.

"It's all been rather last minute," explains an excited Levitt, pictured. "I've been doing a show at the Buxton Fringe Festival and Frisky and Mannish just asked me to do a few minutes with them. I think if I had time to think about it I'd be petrified but at the moment I haven't."

Tickets for the show start at £10 with all proceeds going to the Notre Dame Refugee Centre. "I won't be doing any political jokes that's for sure!" says Levitt. "But you can expect lots of parrots." Pandora can hardly wait.

A cold-blooded work of art

*Jo Wood dealt admirably with her wayward husband Ronnie's desertion, substituting him for a regular spot on the London party circuit. Her brother, the artist Paul Karslake, appears to be having a little more difficulty. He's just finished work on a painting depicting the Rolling Stone as a vampire, feeding off the flesh of a young blonde. Painted in blood, the work was, says Karslake, "one of the most cathartic" of his life. Currently showcased on the Fox Entertainment website, it will, we're told, be available for sale on eBay.

Call me Spangles: Blair limbers up

*Time, we think, for a Pandora campaign: Let's Get Tony Blair On Strictly. Honestly, we couldn't think of anyone more perfect, an opinion only cemented by recent revelations that he is wellversed in the intricacies of the cha cha cha. Touring Durham at the weekend with a group of local media, the former PM is said to have pointed up a side street and commented: "Just up here is where I used to go to dancing; waltzes, foxtrots and all that sort of stuff." This, surely, is too good an opportunity to miss? What do you think, Tone?

Will Fry follow in Tsar Alan's footsteps?

Stephen Fry raised eyebrows at the weekend's iTunes Festival, after admitting to using illegal download sites to watch his former cohort Hugh Laurie in the American drama, House.

His revelations do not, however, appear to have done Fry a disservice as far as the Government is concerned. Indeed, shortly after his speech, Fry was asked by Brown bulldog Tom Watson to share his views for a government consultation on file-sharing. Is Fry to become the Government's latest celebrity "tsar"? For the time being, it seems not: he has yet to reply to Watson's invitation.

Alarm bells ring in the Commons

*No running as you reach the exits! Members of Parliament enjoyed 10 minutes of relief yesterday morning when a fire alarm forced them to evacuate the House of Commons.

Alongside hundreds of parliamentary staff congregating outside the main entrance in Old Palace Yard was the new Speaker John Bercow who (admirably, in Pandora's opinion) was the first to get back to business once the cause of the alarm was discovered. Others, we are told, were rather less diligent.

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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot