Further drama ahead of this year's Gay Pride rally, which is rapidly becoming the most contentious in the event's history.
The annual celebration of London's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has already been hit by funding delays at City Hall. Now Peter Tatchell, a co-organiser of the first ever Gay Pride in 1972, has become embroiled in a heated spat with Downing Street over claims that he has been deliberately left out of a pre-march event being planned at No 10.
"The reception is being held for 'prominent gay campaigners' and the gay press," rages Tatchell. "The official excuse, I have been told, is that I am not prominent enough to warrant an invite. Are any of the other invitees? Or does this exclusion have anything to do with the fact that I am not a New Labour poodle?"
For its part, No 10 insists the flamboyant activist's claims of a snub are fictional. "He has been saying he's been snubbed a lot recently," snaps a spokesman. "It's all in his imagination. We're having a meeting, not a reception. We are going to talk with all the people we have worked with and look ahead to the day's activities."
Nighy gets his own magic show (at last)
Bill Nighy has an announcement. "I don't think I'm allowed to say it but I'm going to be in the next Harry Potter film," he tells us. "I won't say which character, but he's a goodie. I just got the gig." If you don't mind us saying, it's about time, Bill. The rangy actor has been dropping hints for aeons, once complaining that he was "the only British actor who hasn't been in Harry Potter". But has he read the books? "Not yet, but I will!" he says. "It's rather like being in a Shakespeare that way, you know?" Mm.
Problems with your roof, Sir Cliff?
As if having his Wimbledon gig hijacked by a 3,000-tonne retractable roof wasn't enough, there is further ignominy for Sir Cliff Richard. The leathery balladeer, currently to be found busking in Morrisons SW19, faces an uphill struggle with his local council over his conservatory. If he chooses not to comply with a demolition order, he could be prosecuted. Says a councillor: "If the Bachelor Boy was successful in appealing the decision, they might be singing 'Congratulations'." (No, really).
A summer full of party politics
Nice to see Gordon Brown embracing his inner social butterfly. Just as the Cabinet does its best to pass off the week's raft of policies as something new, an unusually vivacious PM unveils his own catalogue of initiatives, in a series of off-white papers (invitations, really) that Pandora has titled "Building Britain's Future Hangovers". Yesterday saw the announcement of events including, but not limited to: the No 10 summer reception for MPs and partners (13 July, RSVP essential), the summer reception for ministers and partners (16 July, places limited), and the Women's Committee summer drinks party (6 July, all welcome). Ah well, at least the drinks lobby will be pleased.
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