Pandora: Scam gives Campbell cause for complaint

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The Independent Online

First Jack Straw, then Lt-Col Henry Worsley – now Alastair Campbell has become the latest public figure to fall victim to one of the credit crunch's money-laundering scams.

Blair's former spinner is said to have been targeted in May, when he received a note from a mysterious company, "Parcel Express UK". The missive claimed that Campbell had a package awaiting delivery and that, in order to arrange its safe arrival, he would need to hand over his credit card details and pay a £2.20 fee. Writing on his blog, Campbell says he didn't consider the prospect of a scam, but nevertheless decided to collect the parcel in person on his way to Heathrow.

"The address turned out to be an industrial estate," he explains. "I asked around and eventually found a man who said, 'Don't tell me – £2.20 redelivery charge – it's a scam'."

Now we hear Campbell is at loggerheads with his local (Lib-Dem controlled) council, after their trading standards department took five weeks to respond to his complaint. Explains a spokesperson: "We're sorry it took so long... this is clearly not acceptable, and we are looking at the processes we have in place to see if they can be improved."

In the meantime, Pandora recommends steering clear of any note from Parcel Express UK (we're sure Alastair would agree).

Young becomes Tsarina for a day

Following in the foosteps of her grizzly mentor Suralan Sugar, The Apprentice runner-up Claire Young is, we're told, to make an appearance in the Houses of Parliament today.

While the reason for the visit by the stroppy businesswoman-turned-tabloid columnist remains opaque (something to do with "promoting volunteering"), we gather that a few lucky MPs will even get the chance to shake her hand and pose for a picture.

Also in attendance will be the music producer Pete Waterman, of Pop Idol fame. Oh, what heady times.

MPs may want to read on

For those not inspired by Claire Young's visit there is, it would seem, an alternative way to expand one's parliamentary capacities – namely through a number of new workshops to be launched over the summer. As well as being taught how to, "perform under pressure," honourable members can improve their "effective writing skills" and their ability to, uh, read. Challenging stuff, then.

Lily set for duet with Cassidy

Ladies, prepare yourselves. David Cassidy, star of The Partridge Family and all-round leather-clad heartbreaker, is to take to the stage once again. What's more, he will be accompanied by none other than Lily Allen, Pandora's absolute favourite foul-mouthed popette. The two are to perform a duet at next month's Flatlake Festival, the annual Irish shindig organised by Lily's uncle, the director Kevin Allen, and author Pat McCabe. Also attending: Seamus Heaney, Germaine Greer and Nick Cave. We're too excited for words.