DIARY: Circus in concilliatory mood as he throws on Mayor's robe in Surrey

What on earth, you may ask, is Campaign doing running a picture of Baron Hardup in pre-Christmas panto rehearsals? After all, it is still technically summer season.

A closer inspection, however, reveals the be-robed figure to be none other than Philip Circus, the IPA's former legal affairs director.

Happily, Circus has not been obliged to augment his humble lawyer's stipend (You're joking, of course, Ed) by treading the boards in provincial rep.

In fact, he and his lovely wife Gaenor have landed a gig as the Mayor and Mayoress of Reigate and Banstead.

Quite how well his worship will adapt to 13 months of flower show openings, garden fetes and Town Hall receptions remains to be seen. It's certainly hard to imagine the blunt-speaking maverick chairing council meetings in true consensus style. Indeed, at his first meeting in charge he says he was forced to order the leader of the council to belt up after her attempt to launch into a "political diatribe".

But then Circus, now a legal consultant as well as being a member of the rule-making Committee of Advertising Practice, was never one to stand any nonsense.

This, after all, is the man who thought the IPA was far too lily livered in its defence of tobacco advertising and who had the establishment spluttering into its claret by going on TV and radio seven years ago to accuse the Advertising Standards Authority of showing a lack of accountability.

None turned more apoplectic than John Hooper, then ISBA's director-general and fellow Reigate resident, who clearly thought Circus to be a damned fifth columnist and said so.

But that was then. What now? Does the latest ambassador for leafy Surrey suburbia have an agenda? "I want to build bridges," he says. "The most important one will be to John Hooper. I plan to invite him to a Mayorial event. Whether he'll come I don't know."

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