Revealed: David Cameron's secret campaign weapon

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The Independent Online

I am pleased to report that the shadow Education Secretary and his wife, Samantha, are about to announce they are expecting their third child.

The couple are leading lights of the Notting Hill set of Tories, so-called because of their trendy West London homes and their modernising approach to the party. An aspect of this new-look Conservatism is putting their families (young and glamorous) at the forefront of their politics.

Cameron, 38, has been likened to Tony Blair - whose then baby son, Leo, was a great election asset in 2001 - and is keen to make much also of his youth in comparison to the older "left-wing" leadership candidate, Kenneth Clarke. Mr Clarke is unlikely to be announcing the birth of any progeny in the coming months; nor is the other front-runner in the leadership battle, David Davis.

Samantha Cameron's pregnancy is still in its early stages. Yesterday, her husband (understandably) preferred not to comment.

"As far as I know, the baby isn't due for some six months," says a friend. "But it's great news for them."

* It is heartening to learn that even in these days of myriad health and safety regulations, the rock and roll spirit lives on.

The edgy Australian singer Nick Cave held a concert at Alexandra Palace in London last week and, as befits his reputation and predilections, he attempted to walk on to the stage with several cans of beer and cigarettes.

He and his band, the Bad Seeds, found their way blocked by an Ally Pally security guard, who told them that they were breaking the rules of the venue.

"Nick just said, 'Fine. If I can't take a beer on with me, I'm going back to my dressing room. You can go out there and tell some jokes to entertain the crowd for three hours,'" says my man on the tour bus.

"Then the band turned on their heel and marched back up to their dressing rooms."

After an awkward wait, the authorities backed down, and a lackey was dispatched to tell the band that "special allowance" would be made so they could take refreshments with them.

* Relations on the set of Keira Knightley's latest film were strained, to say the least. The English waif actress stars as the recently deceased bounty hunter Domino Harvey in a film of her life called Domino, alongside Mickey Rourke.

The ageing Hollywood hell-raiser doesn't have much good to say about Knightley, right. "She's a movie star, and Hollywood's full of them," he tells me.

"I'm looking for a hard-boiled, ball-breaking Bette Davis type or a Barbara Stanwyck to play opposite next time, a darn great actress. I like them hot-blooded - and those oldie actresses were certainly that."

For her part, Knightley says, sweetly: "The thing I love and admire most is that he makes absolutely no pretence at perfection ... He's completely honest with you - there's no facade."

* Timothy Spall is rather prickly about his driving skills. When Pandora ran into the Auf Wiedersehen Pet star after a recent appearance on BBC2's Top Gear, he was less than happy.

"Are you asking me if I was shit?" he said at the GQ Man of the Year awards. "I think you are. You reckon I was probably shit at driving. I find that sort of thing offensive. I didn't go on that show for people to tell me I'm bad at driving."

Spall was not, for the record, the worst driver on the programme. He managed his lap of a race course in one minute 51 seconds, which regular Top Gear viewers describe as "average".

The tubby actor was on an unlikely date with glamour puss Alicia Silverstone at the awards, and her glittering presence may have made him touchy when discussing manly matters such as cars.

* Just three weeks after my report that the rapper P Diddy would henceforth like to be known as Diddy comes news of another high-level record industry rebranding.

The artist formerly known as Jay Z - another rap star - held a party after the GQ awards on Tuesday night, issuing invitations under his real name, Shawn Carter.

"Please make sure that when referring to him in your article, you call him Shawn Carter," hacks were told. "It's how he wants to be known now because he's exploring business opportunities in the UK now."

But it's a shame that, as he begins this inevitable move upmarket, Mr Carter has managed to upset the toffs' current pin-up.

"They invited Bryan Ferry's pro-hunting campaigner son, Otis, to the party but he was turned away by bouncers, despite having a VIP wrist-band," I'm told.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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