Why Annabel's tore up Siddiqi's membership
Monday 13 March 2006
Tariq Siddiqi must rue the day he met David Blunkett almost as much as the former home secretary regrets meeting him.
Blunkett was forced to resign from office for a second time last year after failing to seek parliamentary advice over a job Siddiqi persuaded him to take at DNA Bioscience.
The sorry saga has also hindered Siddiqi's opportunities in London's clubland. The Mayfair hotspot Annabel's has booted him off their membership list.
Not only was the nightclub the place where the two men first struck up their friendship. It was also where Siddiqi introduced Blunkett to Sally Anderson, a shapely 29-year-old blonde who went on to make damaging false claims about an affair with the then pensions secretary.
"It didn't exactly do Annabel's any favours," says a source. "Each time the Blunkett saga was mentioned, so was the club. The great thing about Annabel's is that it prides itself on being a place of great discretion, so they've torn up Siddiqi's membership."
Blunkett will also not be returning. He was reported to have resigned his membership of Annabel's not long after leaving the Cabinet, telling friends he'd never set foot there again.
As for Siddiqi, when I call a spokesman for DNA Bioscience to see if they could put me in touch, no one was able to help. "I'm afraid the company has gone into liquidation," I'm told. "We haven't dealt with them for some time now."
* When times are hard the last thing you need is your best friend turning against you. But that's the situation Boy George seems to be in.
The flamboyant pop star narrowly avoided a spell in the clink last week when he was found guilty by a New York court for wasting police time. Instead of chokey, he was ordered to pay a small fine and serve five days' community service.
So when I ran into his old mucker Philip Sallon at the launch of Selfridges' Future Punk, I naturally inquired how George was doing.
"Badly, I hope," Sallon told me. "George isn't a true friend, he's only a friend when he needs you."
Sallon, a former nightclub promoter, is one of George's oldest friends, and was immortalised by the singer in his Broadway hit Taboo.
While he wouldn't elaborate on the reason for their tiff, he assured me he wouldn't be looking to make up any time soon. "The only contact I want with him is through a ouija board," he added.
* While punters at the Cheltenham festival will be hoping that Tony McCoy can earn them a few quid this week, the jockey spent the end of last week making sure his own pockets were nicely filled.
"AP", as he is known, was a guest at the Marriott Hotel for a pre-Cheltenham dinner hosted by Betdaq last Thursday, where he was part of a panel offering their tips and views on the week's racing.
"When the panel began the talk, AP still hadn't arrived," one diner tells me. "When he finally pitched up, the organisers offered the excuse that he'd had a ride over in Ireland."
The real reason for his lateness was nothing of the sort. McCoy had in fact been performing a similar speaking duty at a dinner being held at the Café Royal by a rival betting exchange, Cantor Index. "AP had clearly double-booked to maximise his earnings," adds my source.
* This year's two most eagerly anticipated autobiographies will be by Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay. They are expected to offer unflattering views on each other. The chefs fell out while working at Harvey's, according to Ramsay, over an arm wrestle.
MPW will take the first pop by releasing his offering in October. "It's going to be called White Slave," he says. "When I walked into my first professional kitchen aged 16, I looked around, and thought: 'This is my life from now on. A slave to the kitchen and a slave to the stove'."
As for the arm wrestle, Ramsay claimed in a recent interview that he had won. Don't be surprised if Marco tells the tale differently.
* Tony Blair might not enjoy the support he once did within his own party, but he still provokes stiff loyalty from some of his old chums in north London. The local councillor Richard Heseltine is petitioning for a statue of the Prime Minister to be put up in Islington High Street. "He's Islington's most famous son," explains Heseltine. "Next year, he'll have been PM for 10 years, so I think that deserves some sort of record. Besides, everyone round here should be grateful to the Prime Minister for what he's done for property prices in the area, even if he didn't get to reap the rewards himself."
Not all locals agree. "Boris Johnson thinks the idea would encourage graffitism," he adds.
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