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The Scurra.

TORY candidate for London mayor, Stephen "Shagger" Norris, appears to believe that institutional racism at the Met has been eradicated at a stroke.

In an interview in Metline, the magazine of the Metropolitan Police Federation, he discusses the death of Stephen Lawrence and the damning criticisms of the Macpherson Report.

"Now, I applaud the Lawrence family for raising the issues they did and the previous Commissioner for taking up the Macpherson report," he says. "But time moves on. The Met has shown a real desire to improve ... what it doesn't need is to have the scabs ripped off again...

"The Mayor should give solid support to the Service even when, with hindsight, some decisions it makes seem questionable."

He adds that he will not be emulating Ken Livingstone by making a special trip to Eltham to lay a wreath at the scene of Stephen's murder.

"The Mayor should support the police in the difficult job they do," he says. A COMMONS clerk preparing literature for next month's meeting of the Anglo-Irish Parliamentary Body found that her computer did not like the word "Stormont".

The alternatives it offered for the name of the home of the embattled Northern Irish parliament were, appropriately enough, "stormbound" and "torment". THE Scurra was ticked off by Sir Paul McCartney's publicist Geoff Baker after running a piece accusing the former Beatle of refusing to sign an autograph for a fan in B&Q.

Baker said: "Paul's approach to preserving privacy in situations like these is, as he has repeatedly said in interviews: 'I explain to the person, 'Sorry, I don't do autographs when I'm in a restaurant or shopping, but I'll say hello, shake your hand and have a chat with you. I just don't always want to do autographs'."

This is, of course, nonsense. As we now know, what Macca actually says is: "F*** off, I'm a pedestrian on a private visit." FURTHER to my item about remarks by Griff Rhys Jones overheard in a London restaurant, the comedian phones to say: "Yes, I did happen to be discussing Susannah Constantine and Trinny Woodall. But I didn't call them tarts." Our source must have mistaken the "tarts" comment for Rhys Jones's pudding order.HERE'S good manners for you. Aged 95, Tory peer Lord Renton this summer took his first-ever driving test - and passed. And Lord R is no slow coach at the wheel.

He recently drove from Cambridgeshire to the Scottish borders. Having arranged to stay at a friend's castle, he told his host and hostess that he would be with them by 6pm. In fact it was one minute past six by the time his motor came bombing up the drive.

Out clambered the ancient but still sprightly Renton, covered in embarrassment. Looking at his watch (by now reading 6.02pm) he said: "I'm so sorry I'm late." DAVID Blaine's fans are as bonkers as the man himself. One nutter is selling a "limited edition" of 44 versions of "Blaine in a box" on internet auction site E-bay. As the items consist of cut-out pics of Blaine in Ship matchboxes, it's no surprise to see that the top bid so far is pounds 5.50.

CAPTION(S):

SCABS: Norris; GENT: Renton
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 22, 2003
Words:537
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