Week Ending: IFB special – Cameron, Heseltine & Mayor Joe, plus Manoj’s Palace date

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LIVERPOOL’S International Festival For Business was officially launched by the prime minister David Cameron on Monday, but the 50-day extravaganza started with an introduction from Channel 4 journalist Matt Frei at the British Business Embassy event.

“I’ve just flown in from Eastern Ukraine which has become a pretty nasty neighbourhood,” he said.

The audience heard how an armed man with gold teeth, flip flops and a missing toe threatened to shoot Frei if his crew attempted to film anything.

“I said that would be a great pity because I’m heading to Liverpool for the British Business Embassy,” deadpanned Frei. “When I said these words he dropped his gun and said, ‘can I come with you, I’d love to visit Liverpool’.”

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LIVERPOOL’S Mayor Joe Anderson has not been shy in criticising the coalition Government in the past.

He gave David Cameron both barrels earlier this year over local authority funding, branding the PM “ignorant” on the issue.

And three years ago, as the Labour leader of the city council he undermined the Conservatives’ Big Society plan by pulling out of a pilot.

But it was all smiles at the IFB launch. During a question and answer session with the prime minister Mayor Joe asked for the microphone to thank him for his support.

“I don’t want to be accused of being a sycophant…”, but was interrupted when Cameron saw his chance. “No one would accuse you of that Joe.”

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THE IFB saw the debut of Lord Heseltine’s new incarnation, Mystic Hezz.

He unleashed a string of predictions with an astonishing degree of self-confidence.

“UKIP. That’s over.” Compere Matt Frei looked surprised. “Why do you say that?”

“They’re on the way down because the next election will be about who you want as prime minister and who is the best fit to run the economy. In my view we’ve just seen the next prime minister here today.”

He continued. “The Scots will vote no, the Conservatives will be in the next Government, and if we get a referendum on Europe there will be a vote to stay in.”

You heard it here first.

Meanwhile away from the IFB….

IT was a closely-fought election for managing partner of top law firm Addleshaw Goddard, but at the end of the day it came down to a choice between two Salfordians.

Step forward John Joyce, a 50-year-old insolvency expert and the firm’s head of business support and restructuring, who saw off Adrian Collins, a real estate specialist based in London.

Joyce told Week Ending: “It’s not widely known, but we were actually at the same school, De La Salle in Salford, although he was a bit younger than me.

“Considering the firm’s size and our geographical reach, it was slightly odd that it came down to a bit of a North West derby with two boys from Cheetham Hill.”

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TECH entrepreneur Manoj Ranaweera nearly landed in very hot water when he told his wife he’d be spending the evening of his 21st wedding anniversary in London with another woman.

Before the North West’s army of divorce lawyers descend on the founder of EDOCR, Week Ending must point out that there is an entirely innocent and appropriate explanation for such dereliction of marital duties – he was meeting The Queen.

Manoj was one of a number of leading digital and technology businessmen and women invited to a special reception at Buckingham Palace this week.

He said: “It was an honour and a privilege to be invited, although I thought it was a hoax when I received an email from the Private Secretary to the Duke of York requesting confirmation of my details so that she could send an invitation.”

On meeting The Queen, he relates: “It was something I was not expecting. What an amazing moment! “

As well as being introduced to Her Majesty, he also chatted and joked with the Duke of Edinburgh about how as a boy in his native Sir Lanka, he
waved at him and Queen as they travelled to Kandy from Colombo by train.

“Who would have thought one day I would meet them in person in their own home?” he adds.

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