Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Londoner's Diary

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Londoner's Diary

Article excerpt

Surprise, surprise: forgive Boris, Cilla tells Liverpudlians

CILLA BLACK has called on her fellow Liverpudlians to forgive the beleaguered Spectator editor Boris Johnson after his magazine accused them of "wallowing" in a victim culture.

"I've met him, and he's a very charming, nice man," she told me last night.

"He made a mistake, but these things happen.

The article should never have been printed. What he said won't be forgotten in Liverpool.

But I think people should forgive him."

Johnson is travelling to Liverpool imminently to beg forgiveness and he will, no doubt, be delighted that the former Blind Date hostess, and one of the most famous living Liverpudlians, has rallied to his defence.

It remains to be seen whether Cilla's appeal will sway the city's angry population. She may be the daughter of a Liverpool docker, but she is no proponent of her home town's traditionally Leftwing politics.

She is worth around [pounds sterling]15 million, and both she and her new beau, Reading Football Club owner John Madejski, are known to be Tory supporters.

They have even been spotted socialising with Michael Howard at Reading's stadium.

Princess's marital tip 1978

PRINCESS Michael of Kent has once more attracted controversy on the other side of the Atlantic. She has told a newspaper in Toronto that it wouldn't be a problem if Prince William had a Muslim girlfriend.

"By statute, no member of the family may marry or 'have to do' with a Catholic - that means business negotiations, I think," says the Princess, referring to the 1701 Act of Settlement, which governs Royal marriages. She is a Catholic whose husband renounced his rights to the throne when they married in "It doesn't mention any other religion. If Prince William produced a lovely Muslim girl, there wouldn't be a problem."

Pause. " Le ga l ly," she quickly adds, "legally, there wouldn't be a problem."

Mandelson's birthday bash

PETER MANDELSON is throwing a 51st birthday party on Thursday at the Rathbone Street headquarters of advertising agency Clemmow Hornby Inge, where he used to be a director. The invitation features a drawing of a train with the quote, "I'm out of here."

Mandy befriended CHI's managing partner, Johnny Hornby, brother of novelist Nick, when he managed the Labour Party advertising account. The former minister later bought [pounds sterling]30,000 of shares in the company prior to his appointment to Brussels as European Commissioner.

He became a director in 2002, dishing out advice on "strategic communication" only to resign when he boarded the EU gravy train.

Mutters and flutters

INSULTS WERE flying on the Today programme this morning. Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips and Evening Standard columnist Peter Oborne were debating the Government's proposed changes to gambling laws. …

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