Government Seeks Drinking Companion For Alistair Darling

THE government is offering £7 an hour to anyone who will have a weekly pint of beer with Chancellor Alistair Darling.

Senior officials are worried Mr Darling is spending too much time in his room and is losing touch with the outside world.

They have put up notices in shop windows around Whitehall seeking a 'middle-aged man who enjoys real ale and could spend a few hours a week chatting and drinking with the Chancellor of the Exchequer'.

Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, Nicholas McPherson, said: "He just needs a bit of human interaction now and again, but unfortunately none of his cabinet colleagues want to be seen with him in public.

"It needs to be someone who is a good listener and won't interrupt too much.

"And it should, ideally, be someone who is financially comfortable. He does like to give away taxpayers' money so we don't want anyone who will take advantage of that.

"We will have to vet them very carefully. The last thing we want is a Northern Rock shareholder who'll drag him into the car park and beat him senseless."

Mr McPherson added: "I must stress that the successful candidate will have to have a lot of patience as the Chancellor is unbelievably boring."

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Naomi Campbell To Wrestle A Bear

SUPERMODEL Naomi Campbell has agreed to take part in a televised brawl with a bear.

Campbell will receive up to £5 million for the eight-round match against a 10 foot-tall, Alaskan Grizzly named Harold.

Campbell is one of the most accomplished fighters in the world of international supermodelling, but until now has satisfied her appetite for violence by taking on domestic staff and public servants.

Tom Logan, editor of Bear Fighting World, said: "Campbell is in terrific shape, as ever, but this is a big step up from a housekeeper or an airline stewardess.

"Housekeepers tend to be pudgy and slow and are naturally submissive, given that they work for you.

"Stewardesses, hotel staff and the like, are trained to please and so are likely to accept a severe beating for giving you the wrong flavour of Pringles.

"Harold, however, eats about 20 pounds of raw meat a day and weighs 85 stone. He is, essentially, a killing machine who doesn't take any shit from supermodels."

Campbell is training for the Old Trafford bout by assaulting up to 20 hospitality workers and junior police officers a day.

It is the first time a supermodel has agreed to fight a wild animal since Elle McPherson retired from alligator wrestling in 1997.