Many people expected Tony Blair to announce he was standing down as an MP last week, as well as giving up the Prime Ministership. You can now expect him to make the announcement either on the day he leaves Downing Street (June 27th) or between then and the beginning of the summer recess in July. This would pave the way for a by election in the autumn. I am told that there are three front runners for the Labour nomination to succeed Blair. These are:-
* Phil Wilson - local man, who was on Blair's original selection committee
* Patrick Diamond - former Labour apparatchik
* Chris Leslie - former MP for Shipley and head of the New Local Government Network
I am sure that more names will be popping up soon and spending every waking hour in Sedgefield. Do feel free to pass on any info!