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300 guests at the Dorchester, black cod & Mot & Chandon champagne on the menu, video messages from Sean Connery and Roger Moore, entertainment from Pixie Lott & JLS.. how a Tory billionaire marked his son's 13th birthday pounds 600K BASH; ELECTION 2010 TORY LEADER 'FOR HIRE'.

Byline: ANDREW DAGNELL; GARY ANDERSON

A BILLIONAIRE Tory donor and hedge fund boss blew more than pounds 600,000 on his son's Bar Mitzvah just three days before the Budget.

While hard-pressed families across the country prepare to tighten their belts, Alan Howard hired out one of London's most exclusive hotels, where boy band JLS and Pixie Lott entertained son Daniel and his pals.

More than 300 guests feasted on black cod and quaffed vintage wines and Mot & Chandon champagne at the James Bond-themed bash at the Dorchester on Park Lane.

Well-connected Mr Howard - a pal of Tory Shadow Chancellor George Osborne - even managed to secure former 007s Sean Connery and Roger Moore to deliver video messages for the birthday boy.

Mr Howard, 45, is a long-standing Conservative supporter who stumped up pounds 50,000 within a month of David Cameron becoming Tory chief in 2005. This amount would qualify him for membership of the Tories' high-rolling Leader's Group.

He has paid for flights in the US for Osborne and Tory defence spokesman Liam Fox through his pounds 20billion firm Brevan Howard Asset Management.

The astonishing cost of Daniel's 13th birthday shows just how far the lives of Cameron's money men are from ordinary voters in credit-crunch UK.

Mr Howard spent more than pounds 250,000 on decorations and event-planning, pounds 60,000 for food and alcohol, pounds 40,000 to hire the hotel's ballroom, rooms and suites, pounds 20,000 on lighting, pounds 15,000 on sound and at least pounds 5,000 on party planners and supervisors. Another pounds 100,000 went on hiring JLS and pounds 50,000 on Pixie Lott to play for just 20 minutes each.

But for Mr Howard, whose pounds 1.2billion fortune makes him the world's 556th richest man according to Forbes magazine, the spending was a drop in the ocean. A guest said: "It was the party to end all parties but for Alan Howard it was just loose change."

The evening began last Sunday at 5pm, when 330 guests in tuxedos and gowns arrived for a cocktail reception. At 6pm they were led to the ballroom, transformed with props from Bond films Goldeneye and Man with The Golden Gun.

Events firm Chance Organisation took three months to make the set in a factory in Wimbledon, transporting it in 15 trucks to the hotel where a crew of 200 worked round the clock for two days to erect it.

Five 12ft imitation missiles were built alongside glass cabinets displaying mock guns used by MI5 spies. Daniel made his entrance in a "security vault", bursting out through a cloud of smoke. Tables of hand-cut glass were decked in bouquets, with personalised passport-style name places. Kosher catering firm Tony Page laid on the four courses including black cod, loin of lamb and champagne sabayon, with Mot champagne and vintage wines.

Wii game consoles and screens kept Daniel and his friends occupied, while the adults were given the chance to bet fun money at Vegas-style casino tables. Guests were told music would be provided by a traditional Jewish band. But then Howard unveiled surprise guests Pixie Lott and JLS. Pixie took to the stage at 8pm. It is under-stood she was paid pounds 50,000 for the 20-minute set, which included her hits Mamma Do, Boys and Girls, Cry Me Out and Gravity. JLS also received pounds 100,000 for 20 minutes on stage.

A DVD of Daniel dressed as James Bond and acting out a shooting scene from a speedboat was beamed on to a giant screen to applause from guests.

Another highlight was a film featuring greetings from Bond legends Connery and Moore. Connery said: "My dear Daniel I wish you museltof (good fortune) for your Bar Mitzvah. Unfortunately I'm still waiting for mine - but he who waits always wins."

Moore told how he had attended Bar Mitzvahs - when a Jewish boy comes of age - with his Italian wife Luisa. He added: "They always played God Save The Queen and then the Israeli national anthem and my wife said, 'Is the Queen Jewish?' which got a big laugh."

The hotel was guarded throughout the evening by six bodyguards and Mr Howard also booked several rooms for friends and family.

As the evening finished at 11.30pm, children were given goodie bags that included CDs and games. One waiter said: "I have worked at some extravagant occasions but this surpassed them all.

"None of us could believe so much had been spent on an evening lasting little more than five hours. You wouldn't think we have just emerged from a recession." Former bond trader Mr Howard founded Brevan Howard with investors including Tory donor Chris Rokos in 2003. The firm grew to be the world's fourth-largest hedge fund worth pounds 20billion and with 300 staff.

Mr Howard joined the billionaires list this year after making a killing by cashing in many of his firm's investments before the global financial crisis.

When approached by the Sunday Mirror on Friday, an aide of the fatherof-four denied giving the Tories cash. However, after we emailed details from Electoral Commission registers on party finance, his spokesman confirmed that Mr Howard had donated pounds 83,000 to Conservative Central Office and local party offices in Harrow and Watford since August 2005.

He denied Mr Howard was a member of the Leader's Group.

Mr Howard, who served as a board member of the powerful Conservative Friends of Israel group, has provided flights to top Tories Osborne and Fox when they have attended conferences in the US through his company.

He owns two properties in London, including a family home in Hampstead, North London, which he shares with his French wife Sabine and their children. Two years ago he bought a pounds 7million apartment overlooking Central Park in New York.

JLS were paid pounds 100,000 for a 20-minute show

Roger Moore sends best wishes by vid..

..and a Happy Birthday from Sean Connery

Pixie Lott arrives for bash at Dorchester

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 28, 2010
Words:1023
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