Yesterday evening rumours reached Guido that Tony Blair will step down from parliament as a constitutency MP by applying for the Chiltern Hundreds this week. Cherie has in any case reportedly started moving furniture out of their constituency house. Labour staffers have been primed for a second campaign (besides Ealing Southall). The party machine is moving in for the by-election. Staff have been ordered to pack their bags and head for Sedgefield on Thursday.
With his new role as Middle East facilitator it is hard to see how Blair would commute between Jerusalem and Durham, one minute sorting out lost welfare benefit claims and the next minute pacifying the Palestinians.
Sedgefield is a safe seat, and dual by-elections will stretch the LibDem machine into two operations.
Many Labour left-wingers might think that the result of a Sedgefield by-election would count as a “Labour Gain”.