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
  • Get to the point
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: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor