Pandora: Pall Mall's bad day in Basra

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The Independent Online

Smoke and the crump of mortars drift from Pall Mall on the warm evening river breeze, following the eruption of Iraq-style hostilities at the customarily sedate Oxford and Cambridge Club. An awards ceremony to promote peace in the Middle East descended into unhelpful fist-throwing when the final gong, for "cutting edge" journalism from the region, went to a female Iraqi hack flown in especially from Basra. "The bloke presenting was Iraqi and starting arguing with someone in the audience," says Pandora's lass in the pearl necklace. "He called him a thug and a murderer because of a past association with Saddam's regime. The guest did not take this sitting down, it went right off. The host had to wind things up over the marquise au chocolat before blows landed."

Stick this in your pipe, Duncan tells tobacco giant

Duncan Bannatyne, a better-looking and smaller-bellied Alan Sugar, is reinventing himself as a documentary maker. Pandora hears that last week he had his own "Michael Moore" confrontation with security heavies from the cigarette manufacturing giant British American Tobacco.

The Jock entrepreneur and Dragons' Den judge, worth £310m, is filming an investigative 60-minute film for BBC2's This World about BAT's marketing policies in Africa, looking into allegations about the sale of its products to children. (The Nigerian government has launched a multi-billion- euro lawsuit against BAT, Phillip Morris and International Tobacco.)

BAT has complained to the BBC about the behaviour of Bannatyne and his film crew at the company's AGM in London's Square Mile last Wednesday. Bannatyne attempted to interview some of the company's top brass by the building's shiny entrance – among them the former chancellor Kenneth Clarke – resulting in a showdown.

Bannatyne, who has also filmed in Malawi, called out "What is this company's marketing policy in Africa?" He was restrained and lifted back by security guards.

"We've raised a point with the BBC that he basically doorstepped us," says a BAT spokesman. "Usually there is a requirement to do that, such as us refusing an interview, which was wasn't the case.

"As for the programme itself, we are in negotiations with them and seeing if it's something we are looking to get involved in."

Norton's little nipper locks jaws on jogger

That persistent yapping, the lolling tongue, the quizzical sideways-slanted head and barely controlled boisterousness: yes, it's Graham Norton, towing his two dogs, Madge, a terrier cross he rescued, and Bailey, a "labradoodle" once attacked by Orlando Bloom's mutt.

Over to Pandora's man in the crotch-hugging Eighties running shorts for an update on Britain's devil dogs epidemic: "My very fat friend Ramin was jogging in Aldgate [central London] this evening, only for his swaying hand to be set upon by a terrier."

The panting exerciser loudly required what the Fuchsia excorticata was going on.

"Oh I'm sooo sorry!" came the singing reply, before Madge, Bailey and papa Norton plodded past. The BBC presenter turned and scolded his charge: "Madge, don't do that again!"

Perhaps we should leave the pooches out of it and just fit a muzzle and surgical collar to Norton.

Mr Stanley, I presume?

At the risk of planting a cyanide smacker on the lips of Boris Johnson's father, Stanley, Pandora throws her bonnet into his camp for the contest to replace Bozza as the MP for Henley. The new London Mayor will resign from Parliament "in an orderly fashion" later this year, requiring the Conservatives to select a Henley candidate "before the summer holiday".

The word at The Spectator's lavish 180th birthday party was that Tory HQ will try to nobble the campaign of environmentalist Stanley, 67, in favour of a younger challenger. The sprightly, rainforest-exploring, blond pom-pommed "Stazza" boasts stints at the World Bank, as a Tory MEP, and bossing the European Commission's anti-pollution unit. He could be the first pop to follow his progeny to Parliament. Central Office should let the people of Henley decide.

Pink parade

Bozza is to attend his first Gay Pride parade in July. Last year the Tory candidate for Brighton Pavilion, Dr David Bull, ran a float of topless dancing boys in that city's march. PinkNews.co.uk reports that the Conservative Party may run its own Pride float in London – no confirmation of bare-chested gyrating. Boris has a cohort of gay advisers, among them Nick Boles, campaign manager Dan Ritterband, deputy mayor Richard Barnes, planning adviser Sir Simon Milton and Fire Authority chair Brian Coleman.

* A gimmick by the marketing bods overseeing Madonna's album, Hard Candy: give out candy canes to the audience outside her Paris Olympia show. Genius – except fans had to hand them back on entering the auditorium, in case any were launched at Madge.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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