That's no first lady, that's Gordon Brown's wife

Last updated at 20:30 02 February 2008

Gordon Brown's wife Sarah has gone out of her way to avoid copying Cherie Blair, who was accused of using her Downing Street position to rival the Queen.

So organisers of the Women's Health In Business conference in London in April can expect a frosty phone call from No 10.

Mrs Brown, who ran her own PR firm, is a keynote speaker - and they have billed her as "Sarah Brown, the UK's First Lady."

Friends of scandal-hit Tory MP Derek Conway claim fellow Conservative Nicholas Soames, a member of the powerful Standards and Privileges Committee which sat in judgment on Conway, had little reason to help him. "When Derek was a Tory whip he put a block on Soames joining the whips' office and Nick has never forgiven him," said a Tory who knows both men well.

Sarah Brown

•Peter Hain, forced to resign as Work and Pensions Secretary, may care to take note of ministerial advice to the jobless. "There are many people sitting at home in the belief that they are unemployable with no life choices or long-term prospects. But this is just not the case - many people with such conditions are perfectly able to take up successful careers ..." The Minister who said this two months ago? P. Hain.

'Exterminator' Dave says it with a Dalek

David Cameron has patched up a tiff with News At Ten presenter Julie Etchingham after her on-screen gaffe when a rogue microphone picked up her aside that his policy on immigration was


Dave sent Julie a model Dalek as a gift, Julie said sorry and Dave has agreed to be interviewed by Julie.

Tory candidate for London Mayor Boris Johnson has recruited stand-up comic Tom Greeves as a speech-writer. A recent review of one of Greeves's gigs says he was spotted "stuffing himself with GM foie gras shouting Nazi Freudian slips in a rural pub" and calls his style "in-your-face politically correct bashing." What can he have in common with Boris?

Julie Etchingham

Hands up, it's Red Bren

A Labour MP claimed he once attended a dinner party with Ken Livingstone where guests were asked what they would do if they had only two hours to live. "We came up with the usual sexual and other fantasies - but Ken said he'd like to machine-gun all his enemies," said the MP.

•Escorting Baroness Thatcher around the Morgan Stanley Great Britons Awards at London's Guildhall, David Cameron narrowly avoided bumping into cross-dressing artist Grayson Perry, who was wearing false breasts. "The photographers wanted to introduce me to Lady Thatcher but I didn't want to embarrass her," said Perry. "She was magnificent, sailing around the room like Elizabeth I."

Charles Kennedy may never get a State funeral but his three-year-old pet goldfish Lloyd got the next best thing after it died last week. Lloyd, whose companion George survives, was consigned to a watery grave off Westminster Bridge. "Charles loved to sit with a whisky in hand and watch Lloyd and George pootling around in their bowl," said a Lib Dem aide.

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