More time to watch the Olympics
Labour was facing claims last night that it has been forced to axe its campaign co-ordinator in the Hartlepool by-election amid protests that he was not local enough.
West Midlands MP Tom Watson was drafted in to run the party's campaign to hold on to Peter Mandelson's seat after masterminding the retention of Birmingham Hodge Hill for Labour.
But he is to be replaced by North-Easterner Fraser Kemp, the Labour MP for Houghton and Washington West and a Government whip.
Labour maintains the move was planned all along, although news of it came hard on the heels of the row over Mr Watson's attack on Liberal Democrat candidate Jody Dunn for defending heroin addicts in court.
The Lib Dems were last night refusing to attribute Mr Watson's departure to the row, which erupted when he sent out a press release saying barrister Ms Dunn was "soft on drugs." It led to a stern rebuke from Lib Dem deputy leader Sir Menzies Campbell who demanded that Labour refrain from "personalised and unjustified attacks."
Comical Tommy denies that anything is wrong, of course.