Pandora: Rory has it all – apart from a sense of humour

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The Independent Online

Having already boasted the kind of CV most mere mortals could only dream of, Rory Stewart's recent transition into the world of party politics had so far proved a smooth one.

Indeed, no sooner was he selected as Conservative candidate for the safe seat of Penrith and the Border, than some admirers were excitedly touting him as the party's leader-in-waiting.

Such speculation is water off a duck's back for young Stewart, whose edited highlights to date include an accomplished career as a soldier, Iraq-based diplomat, celebrated author and Harvard professor – (yes, I know there's more, but I've only got so much space).

Pandora, alas, found itself slap bang in the middle of the Rory warpath yesterday, after guests attending his Westminster-based lecture on Wednesday night mischievously revealed he'd jokily compared the Liberal Democrats to the Taliban, (as you do!). Stewart, who apparently quipped that while "neither go away" they would also "never form a government", failed to see the funny side following my call. The event, he grandly assured me, was subject to Chatham House Rules – normally in fairness reserved for rather weightier political matters. It was also made clear that bridges would be well and truly burnt should I dare relay this most inflammatory of exposés to my scandal-hungry readers.

Perhaps his fears were justified – elsewhere the sense of outrage was clear. "This is war," declared a Lib Dem spokesman, who I mistakenly thought I heard laughing. The Taliban, meanwhile, were unavailable for comment.

Mills has another cause for complaint

No sign of a let-up in hostilities between the consistently bonkers Heather Mills and the British press. Just this week, while promoting a new vegan cook book in Brighton, the former Lady McCartney defiantly announced she was heading for the Press Complaints Commision following recent reports that her artificial leg was "swabbed for explosives" at Heathrow Airport.

2 b fair 2 Tiger...

World-renowned "sex addict" and occasional golfer Tiger Woods faces fresh embarrassment after his alleged messages to a former mistress unhelpfully made their merry way into the public domain. Pandora was, of course, duty-bound to study the missives in some detail. The traditionalist in me couldn't help approving that Tiger at least went to the trouble of writing out the racy compositions in full, rather than lazily resorting to the annoying "text speak" now frankly all too common.

Lembit's looker

Hot on the heels of Lembit Opik's bizarre complaint that he's been frequently mistaken for his own professional lookalike of late, Pandora saw fit to inquire about the fortunes of the said thespian – one Neil May of Leicestershire. Disappointingly, I'm now reliably informed demand for the other Lembit "hasn't been huge".

Beggars belief

Good deeds don't always go unpunished. Veteran comedian Barry Cryer tells of an eventful rail journey with stand-up star Tom Wrigglesworth who, on seeing an elderly woman reduced to tears after being fined by a ticket conductor, started a whip round. He was later charged for begging on a train.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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