PM's sister-in-law asks Alan Clark for a date

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The Independent Online
By now, most women might consider it a good idea to give Tory MP Alan Clark a wide berth. Perhaps the Prime Minister's sister-in-law simply hadn't read the Diaries of the "cold, steely-eyed Lothario".

In an article in The Spectator magazine, 28-year-old former model Lauren Booth recalled how she tried to date the libidinous former Cabinet minister at a recent parliamentary awards ceremony.

"My reputation as a Valkyrie-like goddess (encouraged by bored journalists with columns to fill) was at stake," she wrote. "To leave the awards not having been asked out by him would, I was assured, be seen as `a sure sign you're a woofer'.

Determinedly, but with a "demure smile", Ms Booth approached Mr Clark and said: "It wouldn't be good form for either of us to leave here without having arranged an innocent lunch together."

"Time may indeed have crumpled those aquiline features, but as he turned his full and vaguely amused attention on me, I suddenly felt like a child that had foolishly poked a stick at a caged panther," she said. "He gave me a cool, brazen appraisal: `My dear, I was going to ask you anyway,' he growled.

Ms Booth also described the arrival of Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street, as "the Versace revolution".

"To witness a historic moment can have peculiar repercussions. That moment for me was realised as I watched my charming, Marmite-sandwich-making brother-in-law change before my eyes at his Sedgefield constituency count into `our leader'."

Ms Booth said Mr Blair was "warmer than Pitt the Younger, more flamboyant than Disraeli, and more youthful than Lloyd George.

"The Czech overthrow of Soviet tyranny was called the Velvet Revolution. This was just as momentous: the Versace Revolution."

Last week Tory spin doctor Sheila Gunn admitted that she had no grounds whatsoever for suggesting that Cherie Blair did not like Humphrey the Downing Street cat. But Ms Booth suggests that feline adoration does not run in the family.

"Our paths crossed one afternoon in the Downing Street lobby. He looked a bit ragged. Moreover, he had the arrogance of a very senior civil servant - the cat wasn't called Humphrey for nothing.

"Indeed, he gave me such a withering look of contempt that I shall never forget him," she said, adding: "Nor will I forget the unpleasant odour that followed him about."