No Grant for Hodge

October 11, 2002

Higher education minister Margaret Hodge - who memorably informed delegates that she had left her old council stamping ground, Islington, with the phrase "I'm not Islington any more. I'm Barking" - clearly has yet to learn about the part of London's East End that contains Albert Square.

At last week's Labour conference, she sidled up to former EastEnders hardman Ross Kemp, who played Grant Mitchell, and asked him whether he was a delegate. After he had explained that he was an actor and told her about his latest role, she asked him what else he had appeared in and added: "I don't get to see much television."

At which point, he is reported to have said: "I earn £2 million in two months - what do you do?" and turned tail to find someone more interesting to talk to. She told newspapers: "That's not at all what happened. We did meet and we had a nice chat and he told me about how he was doing Coronation Street ."

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