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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2006, 13:38 GMT
Wales@Westminster newslog

The Wales@Westminster weblog, BBC Wales' Parliamentary correspondent David Cornock's diary on political life

Tuesday, 19 December

Cheek to cheek with soundbites and celebrity

posted by David | 1333 BST |

This is all too much to take.

Welsh political hacks like nothing better than to discuss at length hot political potatoes like the Barnett formula, orders in council and the d'hondt electoral system. Occasionally, the odd development elsewhere stirs us from contemplation of our navels.

It's not quite Clapham Common, but the love life of the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats appears to have filled almost as many newspaper pages as Ron Davies's "moment of madness".

Lembit Opik has always strongly defended his right to a private life free from media interest, although most hacks would suggest that right is undermined once a politician sells details about his private life to celebrity magazines.

You can read the salacious stuff elsewhere, although it appears that readers of Hello! magazine will no longer be treated to pictures of Lembit Opik and Sian Lloyd inviting us to share their beautiful home, complete with washing machine from their good friend Richard Dyson.

The last feature on the couple, which may have left some readers feeling their own privacy was being invaded, included most rooms except the bathroom, presumably because readers had seen enough plugs already.

Ms Lloyd shared her latest feelings with readers of the Mail on Sunday. The star of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, the celebrity edition of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and the celebrity special of the Weakest Link said of Mr Opik: "He's fond of soundbites and celebrity."

The past compere of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations' annual Excellence Awards said of Mr Opik's friendship with one of the Cheeky Girls: "They're really not part of my culture.

"I don't do the sort of things they'll do - turning up for the opening of an envelope."

The host of the Institute of Videography awards (2004) added: "But maybe Lembit really gets off on that."

So no longer will Lib Dem fund-raisers be boosted by auctions of signed copies of Hello! I'm tempted to flog my signed copy on eBay.

Let's remember the happy times. At least Lembit Opik didn't say he was looking for badgers.

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