Pandora: MP's got a beef with Mick

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The Independent Online

The Speaker, Michael Martin, has thwarted an attempt by the MP Daniel Kawczynski to bring a cow into the House of Commons. The Tory member for Shrewsbury and Atcham had hoped to bring in an animal owned by a constituent as part of a protest planned by farmers next month to illustrate the threat of bovine tuberculosis to Britain's dairy industry.

"I am furious that they are preventing me from highlighting the appalling situation of bovine TB," he says. "Thousands of dairy farmers around England are going bust as a result of this appalling disease and the Government is not lifting a finger."

Kawczynksi is probably not used to not getting his own way. At 6ft 9in, he is the tallest MP ever to sit on the hallowed green benches.

Rugby man at a Derby dinner puts his hoof in it

The Epsom Derby dinner is usually one of the opening highlights of the summer "season" but guests at Wednesday night's bash were left distinctly unimpressed.

The black tie, men-only event, which is hosted by Lord Derby, is supposed to be a civilised curtain-raiser to the Turf's blue riband event on Epsom Downs (this year's race is tomorrow), bringing together a lively collection of the great and the good from the world of horse-racing.

But trouble flared over the after-dinner speech given by Martin Bayfield, the former England rugby player, who now earns his crust as a rugby commentator on Radio Five Live and is a regular on the speaking circuit. The speaker is expected to talk about racing. Instead, Bayfield chose to speak about rugby, which is after all his area of expertise.

After a good 10 minutes, the audience, by this time suitably well-refreshed, began to heckle. So much so that Bayfield decided he had had enough and stormed out.

"It is normally the best part of the evening," says one guest. "Mel Smith did the speech a few years ago and Bob Marshall Andrews did it once and was excellent, but we want to hear about racing not rugby."

No word last night from Bayfield's agent, Gordon Poole, although I suspect he can interpret the reaction from another guest as a red card. "We thought this chap might have got the wrong event," says the punter, drily.

See Bayfield sets things straight, 10 June 2008.

Now Pete's wife tries penning a musical

It has been a while since Pete Townshend penned his last musical. Interesting to hear then that The Who's guitarist's long-term partner, Rachel Fuller, is in the middle of composing her own grand opus.

Fuller, who unlike her conk-nosed other half is a classically trained musician, has been working on the project with the actor and playwright Jack Shepherd and hopes it will be ready for the London stage next year.

"It is based on her experiences working as an organist at a local crematorium aged 17," a spokesman tells me. "It addresses society's obsession with fighting the effects of time both physically and emotionally."

Townshend, of course, has already enjoyed success on the West End stage with his era-defining musicals Tommy and Quadrophenia.

"This is a work in progress but Pete is not involved. He is certainly not producing it," adds the spokesman.

Alright, still water

Lily Allen was splashed across yesterday's papers being carried out of an awards ceremony after what appeared to be a hefty night on the sauce.

There were no such shenanigans the following night, when Pandora ran in to the perky singer at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition preview.

"I'm not drinking tonight," she told me, looking resplendent in a strappy black number and with a new pink hair-do. "I drove myself here and I'm going to drive myself back. I'm being very sensible. Although I must admit, it's not good you drinking in front of me."

Instead of quaffing the champers on offer, Allen decided to indulge in a spot of retail therapy. "I've just bought an etching. It's not too expensive – just a grand. Well, not as expensive as some of the things in there. Some are, like, a million pounds."

RIP Jonathan

Leaving the hustle and bustle of the London party circuit, Pandora is sad to report the passing of the former Candid Camera presenter Jonathan Routh.

Routh passed away at his home in Jamaica on Wednesday, aged 80.

Aside from presenting the ground- breaking show, he co-presented the series Nice Time, alongside Kenny Everett and Germaine Greer, and was also the author of several humorous books, including The Good Loo Guide. As the title suggests, the tome was an essential companion to some of the capital's finest lavatories.

Routh retired to the Caribbean island 27 years ago, where a local chum tells me he spent much of his time indulging in his favourite pastimes of landscape painting and dwarf-tossing.