Plot to keep 'dangerous' Walter off the NEC

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The Independent Online

Last year, Walter Wolfgang was grabbed by the collar and ejected from the Labour Conference, for accusing Jack Straw of talking "nonsense".

Twelve months on, supporters of Tony Blair have launched another campaign against the harmless, left-leaning pensioner. This time, they hope to prevent him being elected to Labour's ruling NEC.

On-message backbench MPs have been instructed to sign a "dummy" letter to Labour activists in their constituency, urging them to vote against Wolfgang in this month's election.

The note, which has fallen into Pandora's hands, suggests instead that they support a range of Blairite candidates. "I understand from conversations with members, that many of the candidates standing for the constituency section of the NEC are unknown to you," reads the (supposedly) personal missive.

"Some members have asked me who I am supporting and why. Because of this, I have decided to communicate my personal preference to you.

"On a personal level, I will likely be casting my six votes for Azhar Ali, Louise Baldock, Lorna Fitzsimons, Ellie Reeves, Bill Thomas, and Peter Wheeler."

Sources close to Wolfgang say the letter has already been signed, sealed, and delivered by a number of MPs.

"It's not fair, and could seriously damage Walter's chances," I'm told. "Pathetic though it seems, No 10 is wetting its pants at the idea of Walter saying hello to Tony at a monthly NEC meeting."

Sophie savages 'emaciated' Posh

Sophie Anderton has tiptoed up to the oche and declared "open season" on Victoria Beckham.

In a magazine interview, the model and former drug addict, makes several unflattering comments about Mrs Beckham's physique.

"I used to be tiny, just like Posh, and I felt horrific," she says. "Unlike her, I was on drugs, but I looked emaciated and really ill, like she does now.

"Victoria is only 5ft 5, and I'm 5ft 9, so when I weighed as little as her I really wasn't in a good way at all.

"I know her look has nothing to do with drugs, but it's completely unattractive, and I can't understand why anyone would deliberately choose to look like that."

Anderton - about to grace the television show Celebrity Love Island - was speaking to Closer magazine. They've yet to offer Mrs Beckham the right of reply.

Roger Moore: living doll

A signal honour for Sir Roger Moore. Erotic retailer Ann Summers has named its latest "love doll" after the veteran Bond star.

According to its catalogue, the inflatable, complete with trademark raised eyebrow, will make a "perfect companion" for Britain's lonely women-folk.

"Licensed to thrill, he's 1.6 metres [5ft 3ins] tall with a strapping physique, brooding good looks, and a stunning seven-incher," it reads.

"This swarthy stud is the perfect companion for your girl's night out. But unlike other men, his todger will stay up all night, so you can roger more."

Splendidly, a spokesman for Ann Summers says they "haven't bothered" to get Sir Roger's permission for the product. "We've given him seven inches. How can he complain?"

Saatchi satire

This week, the BritArt star Gavin Turk's puppet show Waiting for Gavo receives its London debut.

Billed as a satire on the art world, it features a character called " Scratchi," modelled on Charles Saatchi.

"It's not a kind portrayal," says one who has seen a preview. "Scratchi bawls-out young artists with lines like, 'I'll only associate with you if you'll make me lots of money'.

"Since Saatchi made Turk's extremely lucrative career possible, he's entitled to feel a bit miffed."

Over to Turk's gallery: "Gavin's show is based on Waiting for Godot," I'm told. "The lines you are talking about were adapted from Beckett, and really aren't in any way meant to criticise Saatchi."

Plane unfair

Matthew Freud may be pally with John Prescott, but he can also boast chums in high society.

The socialite Nicky Haslam recently returned from a freebie trip to South Africa, courtesy of Freud's PR firm.

"As a result, Nicky spent a great deal of last week sticking up for Freud," says a chum. "At the Spectator party, he loudly announced that 'Matthew is a pussycat'. Nicky isn't always so gushing, but Matthew earned serious brownie points on the South Africa trip by sticking him in seat 1A, the best on the plane."

By contrast, Freud's own father, Sir Clement, was stuck in (relative) steerage, around row 13.