Pandora: Tories under pressure: May turns lobbyist

Regulars at Portcullis House were last week treated to the unlikely sight of Brian May in deep conversation with Nick Herbert, the Conservative's Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Unlikely as the pairing may seem, it looks like it could prove enduring.

May, never one to approach a subject without enthusiasm, is in the process of refiguring himself as an animal rights activist, and has taken to lobbying politicians on the subject.

"I've decided to take on a lot of work with animals this year," he told us at a subsequent lunch for the Olivier Award nominees.

"David Cameron is promising that if he gets in, he will repeal the hunting act, which means it will be legal to tear foxes apart with dogs. So, I regard it as my duty to try and make sure we don't go back into the dark ages."

Herbert, of course, has leant his hearty support to his party's plans to have a free vote on the subject. Alas, it seems any efforts on May's part to change his mind are likely to be in vain: "On that point we are unlobbyable," insists his spokesman. "Though from what I understand Brian May is a Tory man." Perhaps he could play at the next conference?

Jameela scales fame's dizzying heights

"I honestly don't know how I blagged my job," splutters Jameela Jamil, the most recent addition to Channel 4's Yoof line-up. The former model has provided a photogenic foil to fellow presenters Rick Edwards and Steve Jones since last year. "I keep thinking they're going to fire me. The only reason they hired me was because I was tall enough to stand next to Rick. I'm Godzilla." Too modest!

Miriam looks to a land down under

Miriam Margolyes has presented casting directors with something of an ultimatum: hire her now or lose her to Neighbours (or, at least, the Antipodes). "If I don't get any work this year I'll definitely be moving," the actress, who owns an estate just outside Sydney, tells us. "And I believe that if you go and live permanently in a country you should become a citizen. I just love Australia." At least she'll be able to pick up the accent.

Cleggover returns to Cambridge

Liberal Democrat press officers fearing the return of Cleggover, Nick Clegg's hard-drinking, serial-womanising, interview alter ego, took a risk entrusting their loose-lipped leader with Cambridge's mischievous student newspaper The Tab.

Not too much of a risk, mind – we're told a party press officer was present at all times during the two-and-a-half minute encounter. Still, Clegg did his best to maintain his reputation as one of the lads. Asked about his time at Cambridge, he joked, "I can't remember much of it, which is probably an indication of how good it was."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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