Small but perfectly formed

Ephraim Hardcastle

Last updated at 13:28 23 April 2004


Tory chairwoman Theresa May, 47, patronises her leader Iain Duncan Smith so outrageously that some senior Conservatives say she is begging for the sack in order to join those plotting his downfall.

Yesterday she was quoted in a Conservative broadsheet as saying: 'I think everyone is impressed by how much Iain has developed. The (speech) training has been beneficial: his speeches have improved. I have not had extra voice training, but there is nothing wrong with it.' Tories gathered at Blackpool ask themselves: has any previous boss of the party discussed its leader in such contemptuous terms?


Shadow Home Secretary Oliver Letwin was rehearsing his big speech, with three assistants listening, when an elderly couple wandered into the otherwise-empty conference centre. They looked around nervously and then began to clap Mr Letwin's remarks. To the mystification of his 'audience' he burst into hysterical laughter.


Small-in-stature actor Peter Dinklage, the 4ft 6in star of the hot new film The Station Agent, is a hit with gorgeous model Caitlin Baldwin, who met him in a bar. She says: 'I've never seen a dwarf be such a sexuallyconfident being. He was the biggest flirt I've ever met. That guy thinks he's Frank Sinatra or something. He offered to take me to Italy first-class the next morning to a film festival, saying, "We're going to do everything first-class". He was sitting on a stool and his feet didn't even touch the ground!' The merry pair 'closed the bar' and Mr Dinklage, 34, bagged Caitlin's phone number.


Who was the sad-looking conferencegoer sitting in the Hilton munching a pink cake and sipping red wine while reading The Independent? Robert Thomson, all-alone editor of The Times.


Prince Charles's maitresse en titre Camilla Parker Bowles has made a big effort to be friendly to rich Americans who pay a fortune to dine at Highgrove. Has it been in vain? Their favourite Manhattan columnist, Cindy Adams, says: 'Camilla, the future king of England's future wife, has developed a potbelly. Also her hair needs a creme rinse.' Charming!


Richard Harris's fiesty ex- wife Elizabeth - now the consort of disgraced former Tory MP Jonathan Aitken - is furious with The Stage newspaper for having 'sneered' at the memorial tribute arranged by the late film star's family.

She says the tribute, attended by around 1,000 guests, was paid for by Mr Harris's sons, Damian, Jared and Jamie 'out of their own pockets' and 'hundreds of letters have poured in' praising the performances of Peter O'Toole, Liam Neeson, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Stephen Rae and 'the recurring theme of warmth, love, laughter and tears that permeated the theatre'. She concludes: 'No wonder The Stage's circulation is only 34,000 and falling.' That's telling the cheeky rascals!

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