Bemused hairdresser takes e-mail requests from Prime Minister

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If people seek advice from a hairdresser, they usually want to know whether, for instance, mullets are back in fashion or if they should go to Ibiza for their holidays. Not every day does the Prime Minister ask for help with a high-profile speech from a humble crimper.

So when Ronnie Campbell, proprietor of the Kutting Krew saloon in Barrow-in-Furness, received an e-mail from Tony Blair asking for feedback on his forthcoming speech to the Labour Party conference, Mr Campbell was a little surprised. "I half-expected a message from George Bush asking me about his Iraq policy, '' he said. Not long afterwards, Mr Campbell also received a request from a member of the public for some House of Commons whisky, which was followed by further messages, including invitations to meetings of MP's.

Concerned some of the e-mails contained security details - such as car registration numbers and times and places of meetings - he contacted his local police. It soon became clear his e-mail address had been confused with that of another Ronnie Campbell, the Labour MP for Blyth Valley since 1987.

The MP, who has changed his e-mail address after being contacted by police, said last night: "The only stuff I get sent to me from Downing Street is the odd invitation to a lunch or reception. So the other Mr Campbell might be getting some free lunches - but he'd have to go all the way down to London to get them."

Back at the Kutting Krew, Mr Campbell the hairdresser added: "It came as a bit of a shock to say the least. I like to think I give out a bit of advice and counselling to my customers but I didn't expect Tony Blair to be asking my opinion.'' So what did he tell the PM? "I sent him an e-mail back saying, 'It's very good, just go ahead with it.'

Whether Mr Blair will now be popping in for a cut and blow dry was not disclosed.