DIARY: Gidon Kremer makes big noise on night the Quiet Man is silenced

Most things are possible for Maurice Saatchi, but not even the Conservative Party's favourite adman could do anything to stop his musical soiree clashing with last week's IDS confidence vote.

No surprise, therefore, that panjandrums of Tory high command were conspicuously absent from Golden Square as the countdown to the ballot result began.

Instead of being glued to a TV screen, the Conservative peer was on stage making a suitably deferential introduction for Gidon Kremer, the Latvian violinist.

And what a stunning performance it turned out to be. Just one small glitch - albeit one to turn Saatchi's face the colour of a Labour flag. No sooner had hush descended on the guests as the maestro launched into a Bach concerto, than his Lordship's mobile was adding a few dissonant chords of its own.

A rapid withdrawal was followed by knowing glances among the audience.

Obviously one of the Tory powerbrokers was breaking the news. Alas, not so. "He already knew," one of his associates later claimed.

Doubtless the result will have been of much interest to one of the assembled gathering. Sholto Douglas-Home, the former Millennium Dome marketing director and now the head of global communications channels at Reuters, isn't only the bearer of a famous political surname. He also happens to be the stepson of the Tories' leader-in-waiting, Michael Howard.

Indeed, Howard had barely announced his candidacy than Douglas-Home was in print rubbishing the idea that there was "something of the night" about his relative. On the contrary, Howard has many endearing qualities, he told The Mail on Sunday. His musical tastes embrace Elgar and Procol Harum, he couldn't change a plug if his life depended on it and hogs the phone.

So no vampirism then. How disappointing.


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