Pandora: Windfall for Blairs as Sedgefield home sells
*When Tony and Cherie Blair put their Sedgefield home, "Myrobella", on the market this autumn, property experts predicted a rapid sale despite the steep asking price.
After all, the house – bought in 1983 for just £30,000, but offered in October for a hefty £300,000 – has played host to an array of guests including the former French prime minister Lionel Jospin and the then US president George W Bush.
It also formed a backdrop for some of Mr Blair's most famous photo opportunities, ranging from his "People's Princess" tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, to his walks to the ballot box in his County Durham constituency on election days.
And sure enough, less than two months after it was put up for sale, the four-bedroomed former pit manager's house has, we're told, been snapped up just in time for Christmas, with contracts exchanged and the deal completed last week.
It is not known what offer the Blairs eventually accepted, although there had been speculation as to the wisdom of the asking price after no one expressed any interest within the first month. Still, it is unlikely to have been much less than £300,000. The couple were famously forced to remortgage the house for £297,000 five years ago in order to help them buy their mansion in London's Connaught Square.
The Trulli way to a journalist's heart
*Expect a rosy 2010 for Formula One driver Jarno Trulli – as far as press coverage is concerned, anyway.
The Italian racer has, after 13 seasons in the sport, mastered the art of buttering up the pundits. We're told that scores of motor sport media members, who have never before heard a peep from Trulli, have this Christmas received cases of wine from his award-winning vineyard, Podere Castorani in Abruzzo. Bottoms up!
Cowell's got the political X Factor
*And so the political class's courtship of Simon Cowell continues. Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw was addressing the Labour Finance and Industry Group when he labelled Cowell "Britain's greatest export in the creative industries". But will a tsar-ship follow suit? The Government has some competition – last week David Cameron was extolling Cowell's virtues. Still, we had expected better from Mr Bradshaw. Pandora's Minister of Sound is more keen on Grace Jones than Joe McElderry.
Opik stays schtumm
*Tragedy! Pandora's favourite fame-hungry MP Lembit Opik is ducking out of the limelight. Having endured a year of expenses revelations and reports of luxury cruises while Parliament was sitting, the Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire's new year resolution is to keep a lower profile. "I feel I have to be careful about what I say," he sighs. For how long?
*Red faces over at Conservative HQ, after Media Wales's Matt Withers asked their opinion of Dr Who writer Russell T Davies's claim the Tories would dismantle the BBC. Their response? "Mr Davies is a backbench MP... his opinion isn't necessarily party policy." Of course, that would be David TC Davies – Tory MP for Monmouth, not the Time Lord's creator.
From the blogs
Even though there was a complete absence of our favourite odd couple Brienne and Jaime, we got anoth...
If you had any doubt where Binky gets her brilliantly brassy disregard for social graces, episode se...
As England’s new football strip – made by Nike – is revealed today, new research shows the English F...
The Photography Blog: ‘Control Order House’ by Edmund Clark – Photographing our response to terrorism
Recent events in Boston have served as a painful reminder of the threat posed by terrorism. In Contr...
Strewth mate. Aussies wave goodbye to Britain as it becomes too pricey to stay
World news in pictures
X marks the spot: The find that could rewrite Australian history
At least 91 killed including 20 children as massive tornado rips through Oklahoma
David Cameron offers review of civil partnerships as gay marriage Bill clears major hurdle
- 1 Austerity has hardened the nation's heart
- 2 Tottenham to smash pay scale with £150,000-a-week contract in attempt to tie Gareth Bale to club
- 3 Strewth mate. Aussies wave goodbye to Britain as it becomes too pricey to stay
- 4 Be more professional! GCHQ staff rapped as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reveals messages that he says point to 'fit up'
- 5 Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£350 - £500 per day: Progressive Recruitment: Project Manager - Public Sector ...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: HR Manager Independe...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Huxley Associates: INTERIM HR MANAGER - ...