It's fashionable to have a go at Hazel Blears, but I have always been reluctant to join that particular lynch mob, as you know. I won't go quite as far as to chant "Save the Chipmunk", but I did have a smidgin of sympathy for her when I read The Sun this morning. The banner headline on the front page was ONLY HERE FOR THE BLEARS. The story surrounds an illegal immigrant who had been volunteering on Hazel's campaign. The Sun found out she was due to be deported and Hazel summarily despatched her from her campaign. She said "I had never met this woman until she walked in off the street and offered to stuff a few envelopes."
I find that entirely believeable. All parties welcome any sort of waif and stray who comes in off the street and volunteers to help a campaign. They're seen as manna from heaven. I can't believe anyone's first thought would be "we'd better check this person's immigration status."
The Sun quotes Hazel's majority as 7,495, whereas it is actually more than 11,000. The Conservative and LibDem vote is more or less equally split. If she is to be ousted, all will depend on whether the Tory candidate Matthew Sephton can persuade LibDems to vote tactically, or likewise the LibDems' Norman Owen.