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Yet again, Speaker Martin is looking for a new secretary

* Another day, another resignation letter lands on Michael Martin's mahogany desk. The Speaker of the House of Commons has parted company with his private secretary Roger Daw in mysterious circumstances.

* Another day, another resignation letter lands on Michael Martin's mahogany desk. The Speaker of the House of Commons has parted company with his private secretary Roger Daw in mysterious circumstances.

Mr Daw resigned on Monday after less than 18 months in the job. Although no formal reason was given for his departure, sources blamed a "clash of personalities" between the two.

The Speaker's Office released a statement yesterday saying the barrister had "decided to end his period of secondment" from the Crown Prosecution Service.

This is the fourth such departure from Mr Martin's office in this parliament. Last month, his spin-doctor John Stonborough was forced to resign over a misdirected e-mail intended for the Conservative Party's head of communications, Guy Black.

In 2001, Martin dismissed his diary secretary Charlotte Every, amid reports that he suspected her of being a Tory. "I am the victim of class warfare," she later said.

Meanwhile, Sir Nicholas Bevan, Daw's predecessor, left his job a year early, after being given a £75,000 payoff. Reports at the time said that Martin "could not stand" the Westminster and Oxbridge-educated civil servant.

Mr Daw's subsequent appointment upset the right-wing press, where he was labelled "a gay lawyer who backed a Government campaign to ban the word 'homosexual' from the courts."

* LITERARY LONDON fell victim to a craftily executed practical joke at Monday's Bad Sex Awards.

According to some of yesterday's newspapers, the annual event was attended by this year's winner Tom Wolfe (pictured), together with runners-up Julian Fellowes and Will Self.

Pandora, however, can report that not one of the three literary heavyweights in question showed his face. The reclusive Wolfe was at home in New York, blissfully unaware of his latest accolade.

It was all a hoax on the part of Alexander Waugh, who hosted the evening for the Literary Review .

Waugh called the white-suited author to the stage, but then said that he'd "slipped out of the room," and that a "friend", Matt Thorne, would collect the gong on his behalf.

"I don't really know Tom Wolfe at all," admitted Thorne later. "But it's great for me: I get to keep the champagne."

* URSULA ANDRESS isn't one to blow her own trumpet. Asked about her iconic entry in the film Dr No (pictured), the Bond bombshell tells me: "I never thought I looked sexy in the white bikini."

"What I did, I think, is to show a new way women could be," she said, at the launch of the UN Year of Sport. "It was a sporty and aggressive image, which was different from the way films portrayed us at the time.

"It's not the same these days: all the girls look after themselves so well. In my day there were curves and flesh. Now all the women are straight, like a poker. But I did think Halle Berry was lovely in Die Another Day : very curvy."

* DISCUSSING HIS "Two Jags" nickname with John Humphrys on Monday, John Prescott said snappily: "My sensitivity to it is that I only own one car."

Lordy! Could this be true? "Yes and no," says one expert. "Prezza does indeed only have one personal car, a rattling old bone-cruncher of a second hand Jag."

"However, he was also given a brand new ministerial Jag to use for work purposes. He's a bit embarrassed about that one, though, as it's gas powered."

While we are at it, the Deputy PM sponsors the Jaguar enclosure at Chester Zoo, which contains three of the big cats. So perhaps his nickname ought to be modernised: "Five Jags" does have a certain ring to it.

* A stomach bug that - to quote one wag - leaves you "feeling like Charles Kennedy after a night on the tiles," is pole-axing various Liberal Democrat MPs.

One recent victim was party chairman Matthew Taylor, who last week lost half a stone in weight after being restricted to a diet of Rich Tea biscuits.

"Worst of all, Matthew was booked to go on Question Time in Plymouth on Thursday," says a friend. "He arrived there feeling distinctly ropey, only to discover the show was being recorded on board HMS Albion."

Bad luck, sailor!

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