Comedian Eric Idle has accused Monty Python co-star Michael Palin of scuppering plans for the cult comedy troupe to reunite.

Idle is furious after Palin, now a successful journalist and broadcaster, recently claimed a tour had been scrapped because "everyone had embarked on other interests" - insisting his old friend was the only obstacle to plans.

He fumes, "Michael has been a little parsimonious with the truth about the Python reunion tour. The reason the tour didn't happen was that he nixed it.

"I believe that the Python (Idle) who was misled and got shafted with extra work has been quite saintly in the forgiveness department and has resolved to say no more.

"Michael is after all an historian. It is their job to write and rewrite facts."

Idle also rubbishes claims made by Palin in a recent interview that their Python contemporary John Cleese is planning to run for mayor of Santa Barbara, California.

He adds, "This was a story originated from Mike and took the Cleese camp completely by surprise, inundating them with calls. I'm not sure John is even a US citizen, though this seems to matter less and less in America.

"I guess Michael is out flogging books and ran out of things to talk about."

A spokeswoman for Palin is quick to play down the rift, however, saying, "They have been friends for 40 years and love each other. Occasionally they disagree - it's just what they do."

05/01/2004 18:38