Pandora: Ring the changes, Gordon

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The Independent Online

Brrring, brrring! It's for you! Pandora's stilettoed mole found herself in the Prime Minister's House of Commons office. On Gordon Brown's desk is his phone (great insight, this). The third person down on his speed-dial? None other than Tony Blair's curly-maned chief-of-staff Jonathan Powell, now a mega-banker and the only fella at No 10 to last the distance with TB. Tone and Gord's relations have thawed, but surely not to the extent that the new PM would disgorge the beans to his old rival's most trusted lieutenant?

A Downing Street spokesman initially dissents but, 42 minutes later, the energetic chap has jogged along Whitehall and back, and reports: "GB doesn't use that phone and so the old speed-dials from TB's day have been left unchanged."

GMTV's scandal on the sofas sorted out in court

The GMTV merry-go-round keeps spinning, but for one giddy rider, it is time to get off.

Louise Port, until 2006 a reporter for the ITV breakfast show – and formerly a squeeze of the football manager Craig Brown and the comic Lee Hurst – sued GMTV for £500,000, claiming disability discrimination. The colourful Scot said she was sacked from her £38,000 a year job in a row with bosses over having epileptic fits triggered by working nights.

Croydon's judges have ruled, however, that Port, 31, "made a very substantial contribution to her dismissal". She was accused of "dishonest and seriously flawed" reporting of her condition. The judges added: "She lied to her employer about certain aspects of her ill health [and] refused to permit the Respondent to clarify the medical position with her treating doctors."

GMTV has been rapped lightly over the knuckles for being heavy handed and sacking her over the phone. (These damn GMTV phone line scandals!) A source says the show expects to compensate Port to the meagre sum of £450.

Port, who has quite a history of legal action, accused GMTV's managing editor John Scammell of waging war against her.

It is no consolation to her that Scammell, 46, resigned at Christmas after his staff alleged they discovered him slumped over his desk, following an inebriating lunch – and could not wake him.

Scammell had form: he was banned from driving for pootling while four times over the limit. In 1996 he flashed his buttocks at singer Kim Wilde's hen night. Ah, the old days.

Munich mistiming: not the Best party night

The football world forgot its rivalries yesterday to remember Manchester United's dead and injured in the 1958 Munich plane disaster. The fatalities included eight of Sir Matt Busby's "Busby Babes".

Into the vacuum left by that devastation grew George Best, a young man who became the club's most revered hero. Were he alive, he would have joined the tributes at Old Trafford.

Best's son Calum on the other hand, is a wee bit dim (at London Fashion Week a year ago he guessed Darfur was a Milanese designer) and somewhat distracted.

To the irritation of Man U fans, Calum chose to host a riotous "F*ck Rehab" party last night at London's Chinawhite club. Pandora's invitation depicted a topless Best being caressed by a nubile blonde. But for the timing, his father would have approved. An organiser hoofed away the idea that Best might hold a minute's silence, saying: "I'm sure he didn't realise about Munich. It's his birthday."

Michael told to wash and go

There are few men patrolling the corridors of Westminster in possession of quite such a proud and plentiful crown of hair as the Conservative MP Michael Fabricant. It is perhaps understandable that he should want to protect his precious barnet.

The Tory member for Lichfield wants the powers-that-be to erect a screen between the two Norman Shaw buildings (the original Gothic Scotland Yard) to keep the rain off honourable members and staff. Unfortunately, the Palace administration committee has rejected his suggestion outright, deeming the project "too expensive".

"I shan't be pursuing it," Fabricant tells Pandora. "It's probably bad enough at the moment having 'MPs employing their family' sleaze without having 'MP not wanting to get his hair wet' sleaze."

Pound a ride

Parliamentarians, beware. The tattoed bruiser Stephen Pound MP, Ealing North's answer to Samuel L Jackson, has been joyriding about the leafy atrium of Portcullis House on a Segway scooter.

The stand-on electric contraptions, banned from roads and pavements in Britain, are renowned hazards: George Bush tumbled off his, and YouTube carries an unintentionally funny video of Piers Morgan's ribs greeting a kerb.

Mr Pound, 59, procured his steed from a Westminster constable.

"It was hilarious," says a witness. "Stephen was charging around the atrium on this police model, making everyone shriek and jump on chairs and out of the way. He had a weird look in his eye. He is a headcase."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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