Pandora: The Diane Abbott habit

The last time
Pandora heard from Jonathan Aitken he was in darkest Kazakhstan, inspecting prisons. This time it's Russia, where he is up to "all kind of things". So he can't talk at length, you understand. But he has this much to offer: his backing for Diane Abbott as leader of the Labour Party.

Aitken was jailed for perjury in the late 1990s, so his endorsement might not have been the first Abbott sought. Still, there it is:

"She has outstanding qualities. She's a standard bearer for the left, and a good communicator. It's what Labour needs. I wish her well."

Given the former Tory minister's bluer-than-blue background, the move might come as something of a surprise. Still, the pair have history: They worked together at TV-am and Abbott's son is Aitken's godson. And, who knows? If she gets Michael Portillo's backing, she might overtake Ed Balls as the Opposition's favourite candidate.

Gordon's touch of Frost

"I went and met Gordon Brown before the election," boasts Sadie Frost. It sounds surreal. It gets more so. "It was at a pub in Kilburn. It's one of the moments I'll remember forever – more intense and exciting than meeting a movie star." She speaks the truth (mostly): inexplicably, Gordon and his wife did visit to Frost's Primose Hill Set shortly before polling day. As for the bit about movie stars, well, we can't vouch for that.

* The advancing years have yet to dent Cecil Parkinson's way with the ladies. Introduced to Pandora's stilettoed informant, the former Tory cabinet minister remarked, "Have some cake – if you want to put on weight, which I must say, you don't need to." Treat 'em mean.

* A new source of rivalry at Sky, as the transition to High Definitian looms. Presenters have been obliged to take a series of tests in front of the camera to check that they are - how to put this? - sufficiently appealing. No doubt Kay Burley, pictured, fared well. Some of her colleagues? Well, let's not get personal.

Hunting for communication?

Nadine Dorries isn't the only honourable member to, on returning to office, abandon their 140-charactered communication with the public. Jeremy Hunt, minister for culture, media and, by some accounts, cockney rhyming slang, has taken to deleting his tweets. It was just "new job, new tweets" he explained later, after mass online dismay. Nothing to do with being rude about Lib Dems, got it?

pandora@independent.co.uk

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