The Totty Party; as New Rifts Rock the Tory Party, Iain Duncan Smith Launches His Own Version of Cool Britannia, Starring -Guess Who -Anthea Turner
Walters, Simon, The Mail on Sunday (London, England)
Byline: SIMON WALTERS
TROUBLED Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith is to make a new attempt to ditch his fuddy-duddy image by being the guest of honour at a party at Liz Hurley and Elton John's favourite restaurant.
Duncan Smith, who faced the threat of a political comeback from Michael Portillo yesterday, will join up to 130 celebrities and key figures from the worlds of pop music, film and TV at a champagne party at The Ivy in London's West End.
Aside from Elton John and Liz Hurley, the restaurant's regular guests include Mick Jagger and Gwyneth Paltrow. But there is a slight hitch for Duncan Smith - none of them are expected to attend.
Instead The Ivy is likely to be full of C list guests on November 5, the day of his party.
The event is being organised by one of Duncan Smith's most enthusiastic supporters in the entertainment world, Jonathan Shalit, former manager of child singer Charlotte Church. Shalit's clients include Anthea Turner, TV presenter Esther McVey, who has said she wants to be a Tory MP, and, until recently, failed Pop Idol Rik Waller.
The invitation says: 'We request the pleasure of your company to meet the Right Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, and leading members of the Conservative Party at The Ivy, 1 West St, London WC2, on Tuesday November 5, 2002. Drinks and canapes 12.30pm to 2.30pm.' It is not known how many have accepted so far. But the party is a big gamble by Duncan Smith. If there is a low turnout, or the guests do not include at least two or three big names, he could end up with egg on his face.
Similar attempts to look cool by his equally unfashionable predecessor William Hague were a disastrous flop when he was mocked for wearing a baseball cap with his own name on it and for drinking rum punch at the Notting Hill carnival.
Mr Shalit said: 'I am proud to be a Tory. I have met Iain Duncan Smith three times and each time I have been immensely impressed. Three or four months ago I asked if he would like to meet people in my world. …