Pandora: Rees-Mogg takes his cue from the 'Sun'

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The Independent Online

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the tweedy Conservative candidate for the new parliamentary seat of North-East Somerset, has been caught red-handed trying to rip off the Sun newspaper in his latest campaign leaflet.

Rees-Mogg – who, as the son of the former Times editor Lord Rees-Mogg, should perhaps know better – admitted that a flier posted through residents' doors in the constituency contained text lifted directly from an article by the Sun's political guru Trevor Kavanagh. "Though the piece expresses my views, I did not specifically write it, although I agree with the points made," says the Moggster, pictured left.

"While the points are valid, plagiarism is a bad thing and I will drop a note to Mr Kavanagh apologising. We won't ask the person who did write this to write for us again. It's an embarrassing matter for which I apologise."

To his credit, Kavanagh is taking what amounts to intellectual theft with a pinch of salt. "Jacob was good enough to call and apologise" he told me. "I told him I was flattered and not at all offended."

Dell'Olio joins political set

Nancy Dell' Olio has thrust her kitten heels on to the first rung of the political ladder. The vampish ex-girlfriend of football manager Sven-Göran Eriksson has been appointed the UK ambassador of Hillary Clinton's influential Vital Voices group. The non- governmental organisation, which Clinton set up in 1997, encourages women to take part in politics. Dell'Olio has, it should be said, been doing her fair share of charity work. Last autumn, she pitched up at Labour's conference to lend her backing to Gordon Brown.

Critic kips as his 'Plague' rages

Theatre reviewers are often accused of snoozing their way through a show, and one apparently even drops off while watching his own.

According to the actor Nick Britton, the London Evening Standard's acerbic critic, Nicholas De Jongh, would catch 40 winks during his play, Plague Over England, which has recently transferred from the Finborough in Fulham to the West End. "He slept through most of the performances after the first night," says Britton, who starred in a fringe production of the work. "No one should be surprised at a repeat performance at anyone else's." When asked if there was any truth to the tale, De Jongh stone-walled me with a brisk "no comment".

Fergie not amused by red-carpet hackery

If Sarah, Duchess of York, intends to further her new-found career as a film producer, she is going have to become more accustomed to the cut-and-thrust hackery of the red carpet.

At this week's premiere of Martin Scorsese's film The Young Victoria, a biopic about Britain's longest-serving monarch that the Duchess helped to get off the ground, Fergie was asked by a BBC Radio journalist whether she and the Royal Family would be "getting together on a big sofa to watch the film".

It might have seemed a harmless enough question, but Fergie did not take too kindly to it. Ignoring the reporter, she promptly turned on her heels and was heard muttering to the film's publicist to "have a word with that man later".

Perhaps the Duchess thought the hack in question was making a snide remark about at her status within the Royal Household. In the past, when her ex-husband Prince Andrew and their daughters Eugenie and Beatrice have joined the rest of the family at Sandringham for Christmas, she has been confined to a property on the outskirts of the estate.

Sir Bob the Thatcherite

An unlikely friendship appears to be blossoming between Sir Bob Geldof and Baroness Thatcher. Six months after they were seen chatting at a British Library poetry reading, they were nattering away again on Wednesday at the Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture, delivered by political journalist Peter Oborne at the Centre for Policy Studies. The pair locked horns in the 1980s, when the Tories initially refused to knock VAT off sales of Sir Bob's Band Aid charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?"