Ronaldo finds an unlikely defender in Peter Tatchell

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The Independent Online

Tatchell has leapt to Ronaldo's defence over his treatment by The Sun after he was accused of engineering Wayne Rooney's sending off during England's defeat in the World Cup last weekend. In particular, Tatchell has taken issue with what he calls a homophobic smearing of Ronaldo, after the newspaper dubbed him a "nancy boy" and a "pretty boy".

Such talk is like a red rag to a bull for Tatchell, and he's now demanding that the FA report the matter to the Press Complaints Commission."

"The Sun's homophobic sneers against Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo, are out of order," he says. "We urge the Football Association to prove its proclaimed commitment to tackling homophobia by reporting The Sun to the Press Complaints Council. The Football Association has pledged to stamp out homophobia and to protect players who are victims of homophobic prejudice."

Unfortunately for Tatchell, it looks as though his protests have fallen on dearf ears. The FA - clearly with enough on their plates at the moment - aren't getting involved.

"Clearly we are very pro-active in terms of stamping out homophobic behaviour," says a spokesman.

"But Peter Tatchell should direct this at The Sun and its editor. We don't want to enter into a debate with the media."

* Heather Mills McCartney might be estranged from her husband, but her drive to recruit celebrities to her crusade against the fur industry is going great guns.

Yesterday, she announced on her website that she had persuaded the shopaholic US heiress Paris Hilton to stop wearing fur. The pair apparently bonded after Mills-McCartney invited Hilton over to her LA pad to watch a video of cats and dogs being skinned alive for their fur.

"Paris's decision is wonderful," she says. "As a trend setter and a fashion icon, I know she is already using her influence to persuade some of her fur wearing celebrity friends to stop wearing fur."

It's a bold statement, since Hilton is not known to sticking at things for long. Just recently she embarked on a pop career, having previously had a crack at modelling as well as acting.

* Strange as it may seem, Jade Goody has emerged as an unlikely campaigner against the closure of our nation's libraries.

Earlier this week, Goody performed as a guest speaker at an event in Kent organised by the government-supported Love Libraries campaign.

Her involvement is a surprise choice, since books are not normally considered one of Goody's passions. During her appearance on Big Brother four years ago, she famously asked whether East Anglia was abroad.

"Jade was suggested by one of the publishers involved," explains a spokesman.

"She did a Q&A session with some local teenagers and seemed to really enjoy it. She said she loves reading and reads to her children at home all the time."

* Tory MEP Edward McMillan-Scott has been on the receiving end of a number of cruel jibes from colleagues this week.

He has just issued a press release urging the European Commission to "name and shame" those countries that fail to punish parents who abduct their own children during custody battles.

Unfortunately for McMillan-Scott, however, his efforts have been overshadowed by the unfortunately phrased opening sentence of the release, where he innocently boasts: "I am involved with several cases of child abduction in the UK".

"It's a bit of a shocker for Ed," says one colleague. "Everyone round here is now calling him the Child Catcher."

* Some might say the talents of New Labour minister Geoff Hoon have been somewhat unfairly called into question over the past few years. But according to reports, there can be no detractors when it comes to his form on the dance floor.

At a recent reception in Strasbourg in honour of a retiring MEP, Hoon was seen taking the floor with someone described by one witness as a "young, twenty-something blonde".

"The two of them both got up to dance after the Sinatra song 'New York, New York' started playing," I'm told. "Both of them appeared to be dancing pretty enthusiastically, though they were just having a bit of a laugh. The young lady did seem suitably impressed with Hoon's moves. He only stopped when he realised a few mischievous people were taking photographs."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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