Tessa's fashion statement gets her into more trouble

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The Independent Online

* As Tessa Jowell sits at her breakfast table and ponders this morning's newspapers, she may be given to reflect that it never rains, but it pours.

The Culture Secretary already has half of Fleet Street, and several dozen Italian prosecutors, knocking at the door of her north London home. Now she's managed to upset the shouty attack dogs of the animal rights lobby.

At the weekend, Jowell and her husband, David Mills, were "paparazzied" on a shopping trip near the Warwickshire retreat where they spend weekends. The resulting photos, in Monday's newspapers, showed her wearing a lambskin waistcoat, together with a dark pair of wool-lined boots.

So far, so trendy. Unless, that is, you speak to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who noisily campaign against public figures who buy clothes made from cuddly animals.

"You'd have thought Tessa Jowell would be in enough trouble at the moment," says their spokesman.

"But I'd like to think that as a Labour politician, she would prefer fakes. I wish people would learn that you can have the killer look without the killing."

Peta was last night considering options for further campaigns, with catchy slogans that are thought to involve mutton and lamb.

Meanwhile, Jowell can thank her lucky stars she wasn't wearing fur: as Julien MacDonald recently found, that's liable to lead to an unwelcome encounter with half a pound of flour.

* The pin-up and former Atomic Kitten Jenny Frost inspires yet another row over "dumbing down" at the BBC.

To celebrate something called Body Awareness Week, our national broadcaster has commissioned Frost to make a documentary: My Breasts and I.

Since her TV experience thus far consists of parading around in a bikini on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, some reckon this to be is all a bit much.

Indeed, the BBC wouldn't even comment yesterday on accusations of squandering licence-payers' money.

However Frost assures me that the project is more than just an excuse to up the "nipple count" on our screens,

"It'll be a general program, covering breast enlargement, breast cancer, that sort of thing," she says. "I suppose it's going to be kind of tongue-in-cheek too."

Either way, Frost's programme jollifies BBC 3 this month, before (hopefully) being repeated on terrestrial in June.

As to what qualified her for the presenter's job, she adds: "Well, I've got a pair, I suppose."

* For all Naomi Campbell's beauty - and, for all we know, brains - you'd be hard pressed to describe her as a good timekeeper.

Splendid, then, to see Streatham's finest export revealing that the punctuality of locals makes Milan her "favourite city" in the world.

In an interview with High Life magazine, Campbell explains her affection for the Italian fashion capital.

"Milan's a very focused, business orientated place where lots of deals are done. Rome is relaxed in comparison," she says. "Everything in Milan is super-efficient and on time, which suits me perfectly."

The comments will prompt wry smiles in many quarters, not least at the British Airways magazine itself.

La Campbell treated them with customary slipperiness.

"She postponed us at least once," I'm told. "Eventually, we did get hold of her. But the interview had to take place in the back of a taxi."

* David Hockney lost the war, but he's damned if the anti-smoking lobby will catch him crying over spilt milk.

On Monday, Pandora asked the noted artist and tobacco advocate how the forthcoming ban on smoking will affect his lifestyle.

"In all honesty, I'm not really bothered about it," he replied. "I'm not a particularly social person, so don't go to restaurants much. I'm withdrawn, and prefer to stay in: the public are too boring."

Hockney was speaking after being named Forest's Smokers Champion of the Year. He clinched the gong on the Today programme in August, telling Health Minister Julie Morgan: "You're too bossy, chum. You're dreary, absolutely dreary."

* Just how prudent was Gordon Brown's decision to have his grotty teeth bleached and straightened?

The Chancellor admitted this week that expert dental surgeons were paid several thousand quid to sort out his pearly whites.

Now the high-street pharmacist Superdrug has issued a stern press release claiming he's been ripped off.

"We're delighted to see that Gordon Brown has taken the plunge and had a dental makeover," they say. "But we sell home whitening kits that give you a Hollywood smile much more easily and inexpensively."

" I'm sure Gordon Brown will agree that it makes economic sense to spend £12.95 on them, rather than hundreds of pounds at the dentist."

The store yesterday delivered free bleaching kits to fellow members of the Cabinet, on Brown's behalf. Say cheese!

pandora@independent.co.uk

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