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Friday, 11 February, 2000, 11:32 GMT
Mowlam in TV 'canine wedding'

The wedding party: Mo Mowlam and Graham Norton


Cabinet Office Minister Mo Mowlam is to be seen taking part in the first "dog wedding" on a Channel 4 chat show tonight.

The former Northern Ireland Secretary will be seen giving away the "bride" - a bearded collie called Lalya - on the So Graham Norton programme on Friday evening.

Her appearance on the show comes on the same day that the Northern Ireland Assembly, the cornerstone of the Good Friday Agreement, is expected to be suspended because of the paramilitary arms decommissioning impassse.

Ms Mowlam, who was escorted onto the show by two gold-coated cupids, was joined by US actor Jason Priestley in the stunt.

The stunt was part of a regular feature on the show where Norton find bizarre events, this time dog weddings, on the internet.

On the show, she also made light of her current role as "cabinet enforcer" in light of her recent admission that she had smoked cannabis as a student.


Bizarre stunt: Inspired by website
"I've got a very demanding job now. I do drugs, I do GM," she said to laughter from the audience.

She added: "I always said I was a child of the Sixties - in every sense of the word."

She also told Norton she preferred new shadow chancellor Michael Portillo to Conservative leader William Hague.

When asked about the Labour government's popularity, she said: "We've done a lot and Hague is so sad - he's got no judgement and I prefer Portillo."

Ms Mowlam also had her fortune told by a musical internet psychic, who sang about her flying around and helping people in the next five to 10 years.

But, speaking of her own future, she said: "I'd like to be one of those lifesavers on a very hot beach somewhere."

Rumours surround Mowlam

The chat show appearance comes amid continuing speculation about Ms Mowlam's role in government.

Ms Mowlam's armed protection - often still provided to former Northern Ireland ministers years after they have left the job - was removed in January.

And earlier this month she said that certain Whitehall figures were trying to "put the knife in" following unsourced suggestions to some journalists that her 1997 treatment for a benign brain tumour had left her unable to do her job.

She has also admitted that she misses being Northern Ireland Secretary and that she had been personally "hurt" by an alleged whispering campaign.

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See also:
03 Feb 00 |  UK Politics
Whitehall 'put the knife in' - Mowlam
31 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Downing Street rallies behind Mowlam

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