Stars out again at Downing Street

Andrew Pierce. Photograph- Rebecca Naden

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Noel, Meg and Tony Blair

STARS came out in droves in Downing Street for the second consecutive evening yesterday as Tony Blair hosted a big show business reception at No 10 (Andrew Pierce writes). Many of the Prime Minister's guests had been next door at No 11 on the previous day for Gordon Brown's party to mark the tax concessions for. the British film industry that he has introduced as Chancellor. The Blairs in fact live at No 11.

Labour's luvvies, who had kept a low profile in the run-up to the election, were back in force last night to celebrate Mr Blair's election victory. The party, to which representatives of the worlds of media, business, academia, and the law were also invited, was bigger than Mr Brown's had been.

Noel Gallagher, the self-professed enfant terrible of the pop industry and darling of the tabloid press, was one of the first to arrive. Alan McGee, who set up Creation Records, the driving force behind Oasis followed him through the door. His invitation was particularly well merited since he has given 50,000 to party funds in Scotland.

Sinead Cusack, a member of one of Britain's most famous acting dynasties, who had also been a guest at Mr Brown,s wine and canapes soirie, was back for Mr Blair's festivities. Ralph Fiennes, star of the Oscar-winning film The English Patient, mingled with fellow guests such as Eddie lzzard, who has never hidden his fondness for cross-dressing and, true to form, was last night wearing women's clothes.

Huge crowds gathered outside the Downing Street gates to witness the arrival of such other stars as George Michael and the Pet Shop Boys and Angus Deayton, the television personality. Nick Park, the Oscar-winning animator who created the hugely popular Wallace and Gromit characters, was also among those invited.

Times 31 July 1997

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