Pierre White's festive fare is fit for a minister

Department cut back on Christmas parties? Bubbly banned in the Commons? Not to worry, why not head down to Marco Pierre White's place for a little bit of private extravagance?

We hear that the combustible chef, pictured, has taken out an advertisement in this week's edition of the parliamentary magazine, The House, inviting members and their staff to enjoy a one-off "Christmas dinner and dance" at his plush Knightsbridge eatery Frankie's.

"Your evening will begin with a champagne reception," the enticing offer begins, "after which you will enjoy Marco's choice of menu, including half a bottle of wine per person and a three-course dinner."

Even better, diners will have the honour of an interview with the great chef himself as they eat their desserts. Who needs a Christmas party in the office? And it's a snip at £195 per person (plus VAT). Just remember to keep the receipt.

Cocker offers class in pole-dancing

The raccoon-eyed residents of east London's hipster quarter received a dubious honour yesterday with the opportunity to join Jarvis Cocker for a pole-dancing workshop in Shoreditch. Whether or not the dandyish former Pulp frontman himself threw any shapes has yet to be confirmed, though with a hula-hoop workshop and burlesque dance hour still to come, the prospect of a little leg shaking seemed inevitable. The session followed a series of musical yoga classes Cocker offered in Paris. All together now – om!

No slime above this chair, thanks

"Want a chair like this? Then you too should buy furniture polish from [insert name of well-known household cleaning brand here]." A parliamentary debate on product placement took an unlikely turn yesterday when the enterprising Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle raised the prospect of placing branded products above Speaker John Bercow's chair ("green gunge!" cried one heckler).

Alas, no such dunking opportunities look likely to be realised; Hoyle's moment was swiftly brought to an end with a steely glance from Ben Bradshaw.

Balls! Sting proves he's indestructible

High-minded pursuits for Sting. "I've been asked to contribute to the research and development of an indestructible football by scientists," the ageing rocker, pictured, explains.

No doubt he has some valuable aerodynamics expertise to bring to the table. That or ... money. "We're launching the idea very soon," he elaborates. "It will be an instant joy for a lot of children in the world." No doubt.

Any room over there, Andrew?

*Now that he's back within the Labour Party fold, the squillionaire property developer (and eye of the party's 2007 "Donorgate" storm) David Abrahams is keen to settle one score. "I remember everyone at the time was just laying into me on The Andrew Marr Show," he complains. "The thing is, I would have gone on The Andrew Marr Show if only they had actually asked me. But no one did." How about an invitation now, Andrew? Better late than never...

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