Ephraim Hard­cas­tle

Daily Mail - - Election 2017 - Email: peter.mckay@dai­ly­mail.co.uk

WITH the polls nar­row­ing, I hear palace flunkeys are ner­vous. Ex­pect­ing Theresa May to sweep back into No 10 on June 8, Civil Ser­vice tran­si­tion ar­range­ment dis­cus­sions with Labour big­wigs are said to have been per­func­tory. But they were caught out in 2010 when an in­con­clu­sive re­sult led to pro­tracted ne­go­ti­a­tions over a hung Par­lia­ment, which risked drag­ging the Queen into po­lit­i­cal horse-trad­ing. So the Palace is said to be ask­ing for ‘guid­ance notes’.

FANS have been meet­ing Sir Cliff Richard at his Por­tuguese win­ery Adega do Can­tor, where he cheer­fully posed for pic­tures and signed au­to­graphs. Host­ing 600 ad­mir­ers, Sir Cliff, 76, en­thused: ‘It was fan­tas­tic... I got hugs from just about ev­ery­body.’ He’d be even hap­pier if there was one wealthy fan out there will­ing to buy his prop­erty and wine busi­ness. Put up for sale last year for £8 mil­lion, the price has re­port­edly been slashed to £5.5 mil­lion.

THE Duchess of Corn­wall’s daugh­ter, Laura Lopes, 39, has re­called shop­ping with Camilla at the Chip­pen­ham branch of Sains­bury’s. They found a park­ing space near the store en­trance but it had a sign say­ing, ‘Re­served for the Mayor of Chip­pen­ham,’ said Laura, pic­tured, who adds: ‘When we came out a man stopped her and asked what she was do­ing in the mayor’s park­ing space. Mummy smiled and said, “I’m so sorry, I’m the mayor’s wife…” and hur­ried me into the car. The man fol­lowed us and said, “What a joy to meet you for the first time – I’m the mayor!”’ An amus­ing tale but Sains­bury’s say they’ve never had a re­served park­ing space for the town’s mayor.

SKY’S heavy­weight po­lit­i­cal ex­pert, Adam Boul­ton, re­marks on Twit­ter about the sta­tion’s big week­end po­lit­i­cal in­ter­views: ‘Well JC [Cor­byn] had the bet­ter of that en­counter with Jeremy Pax­man.’ He retweets a com­ment say­ing: ‘Pax­man was very poor... would have been bet­ter with Adam Boul­ton.’ Mean­while, Brexit Sec­re­tary David Davis, re­fer­ring to Pax­man, tells his Ra­dio 4 in­quisi­tor, John Humphrys: ‘You’re clearly in a dif­fer­ent class.’ Humphrys agrees, re­ply­ing: ‘Quite.’ Like feud­ing fer­rets in a sack, aren’t they?

FORMER Blue Peter pro­ducer Biddy Bax­ter, 84, feuded with the show’s pop­u­lar star, John Noakes, who died Sunday aged 83. She ac­knowl­edged on Ra­dio 4’s To­day that they had had their ‘ups and downs’. They fell out af­ter Noakes, who left the show in 1978, was barred from ex­ploit­ing his fa­mous bor­der col­lie, Shep, in TV ads. Ms Bax­ter re­calls: ‘He had this mar­vel­lous side­kick in Shep. Of course, that ap­pealed to the chil­dren. Some of them prob­a­bly liked Shep more than they liked John Noakes.’

APRO­POS the Duchess of Corn­wall, Project QC – pre­par­ing us for Queen Camilla – is up and run­ning. It aims for ma­jor­ity pub­lic ac­cep­tance of her be­ing crowned and anointed in West­min­ster Abbey, a few yards from where Princess Diana’s cof­fin rested. But the head­lines are de­voted to Prince Wil­liam rais­ing the ghost of Diana in GQ. ‘It’s reck­oned that ev­ery time he men­tions Diana the prospect of Queen Camilla takes a bat­ter­ing,’ says a royal source who adds: ‘But the hope is that sup­port­ive words from Wil­liam and Harry, on 17th July – Camilla’s 70th birth­day – will as­sist her case.’

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