Sir Paul McCartney has fired his long term publicist Geoff Baker after the rock legend was involved in a fracas with a photographer while watching DAVID BLAINE's latest stunt.

The former beatle was furious Baker had tipped off KEVIN WHEAL, of London newspaper THE EVENING STANDARD, he was intending to visit the illusionist's River Thames spectacle in the early hours of this morning (19SEP03).

An altercation broke out between McCartney's entourage and the snapper shortly after 1am, resulting in both parties filing assault charges.

According to Wheal, after the HEY JUDE singer's friends tried to push him, McCartney then placed his hands on his chest and swore at him.

Wheal says, "His friends - who seemed more like minders to me - grabbed hold of me and pushed my camera towards the ground. One of them said, 'There's no f***ing way you're going to take a picture mate.'

"I said I only wanted to take a photo and I am doing my job. With that Paul came up, he pushed me with his open palm on my chest and he said, 'F**k off. It's a private visit. I've come to see this stupid c**t.'"

Furious McCartney then turned on Baker, blaming him for the unpleasant confrontation after learning of his tip-off.

Baker, who has been with McCartney for 14 years, says, "When it transpired what I had done, Paul was then saying to the photographers 'It's not your fault, it's our publicity guy's fault.'

"Paul was rightfully angry with me and I haven't spoken to him since. It's now up to him as to whether I am still working for him - that's his call. Last thing he shouted at me was that I was fired. There was a lot of swearing going on. He was incandescent. I'm available for parties... and poledancing."

British police have confirmed that both parties had filed charges saying, "Shortly before 1am today officers near the David Blaine stunt show became aware of a dispute between a group of friends, a photographer and other members of the public.

"Following the altercation we have received two counter allegations of common assault. The group of friends have alleged that they were assaulted by a man during the argument. He alleges that they assaulted him. Statements were taken at the scene. Walworth police are investigating and inquiries continue."

20/09/2003 00:13