Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Diary

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Diary

Article excerpt

Troubled ghost haunts Blunkett's Belgravia home MANY THINGS must haunt David Blunkett, not least the memory of his recent affair with Spectator publisher Kimberly Fortier. But now the Home Secretary is convinced his official residence has become the regular stomping ground of a ghost.

Blunkett, speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, has been complaining of things going bump in the night in his Belgravia home. "He said he was kept awake by unusual noises and knocking after dark," says my man at the speech on Wednesday evening. "He went on to explain how a strange chill would suddenly come over the room after the noises."

Blunkett lives in a house in South Eaton Place. Its past inhabitants include Lord Hurd and Michael Howard, who himself famously had "something of the night" about him. However, while they seem to have slept soundly in their beds at the property, Blunkett is clearly feeling quite spooked.

The Home Office can shed little light on the haunting problem. "I'm looking into it but nothing has turned up at the moment, " says a spokesman.

Paranormal expert Karl Windridge has been quick to offer advice to the Home Secretary. "It sounds like a troubled spirit to me," says Karl.

"Mr Blunkett could put lit incense sticks in the room, which will either calm the spirit or drive it away. The other thing he could is try talking to the spirit to find out why it is troubled and ask it to reply to his questions by knocking."

If Blunkett gets a straight answer, it will be more than most of us get from him.

Revenge in the preface FRANCIS Beckett and David Hencke use the preface of their biography, The Blairs and the Court, to out those who initially agreed to cooperate but then changed their minds when Downing Street put the frighteners on them.

" The most surprising refusenik was Ken Livingstone," they write. "When we first approached his spokeswoman, she thought he would be glad to talk to us.

"But then he rejoined the Labour Party and she told us: 'Things have changed.' She had the grace to seem a bit ill at ease about it."

Another who declined was style guru Carole Caplin. "We telephoned Carole's mobile and she said, in an unconvincing Yorkshire accent, 'You've got the wrong number,' and cut us off.

"We tried again, and before we could speak, she shouted 'I told you you've got the wrong number' - but forgetting the accent that time."

.CELEBRITIES attending the Labour Party Conference have included former Playschool presenter Floella Benjamin, Billy Bragg and Bono. But the Tories are bussing in a few of their own glamorous backers to Bournemouth next week for their conference. Those expected include Eimear Montgomerie (pictured), former wife of golfer Colin, fashion designer Bruce Oldfield, publisher Nicholas Coleridge, LBC presenter Caroline Feraday, Clemmie Hambro, great-granddaughter of Winston Churchill, Mick Jagger's former girlfriend Vanessa Neumann, and Amber Nuttall, erstwhile Annabel's greeter. …

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