CONSERVATIVE MP Neil Hamilton last night pulled out of a reception at 10 Downing Street hosted by the Prime Minister amid a welter of fresh accusations in the cash for questions affair.

Mr Hamilton, MP for Tatton, told ITN: "I am afraid I'm far too busy just to spend my time in social intercourse and drinking."

Less than 24 hours earlier he had been forced to admit he had received £10,000 from Ian Greer, the lobbyist at the centre of the affair, even though he originally told Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine they did not have a financial relationship.

Sweden announced yesterday it would send investigators to South Africa to follow up new leads into the 1986 murder of prime minister Olof Palme, after fresh revelations from former death squad leader Eugene de Kock.

Former Los Angeles detective Mark Fuhrman has received three years' probation for lying in court about using a racial epithet, during the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

Fuhrman testified in the trial that he had never used the word "nigger" during the previous 10 years. That statement was later contradicted by four defence witnesses. One brought tape recordings of him saying the word at least 41 times.

Sentencing has been postponed again for Heidi Fleiss (30), the Hollywood madam convicted of tax evasion.

She has been ordered to spend 90 days in drug rehabilitation after being arrested last Friday when a random test found she had been taking amphetamines. Fleiss (30) had been on bail while waiting for sentencing over last year's tax convictions.

Actress Helen Mirren is pictured naked on the cover of this week's Radio Times, along with fully clothed Felicity Kendal, Sue Lawley, Joanna Lumley and Clare Short on inside pages, to mark the 50th anniversary of Radio 4's Woman's Hour programme.