Patrick Hennessy and Melissa Kite story

There’s a report in today’s Sunday Telegraph that’s inaccurate. I wasn’t asked to verify the story, particularly the statement that I was excluded from the campaign:

“By contrast a number of Mr Brown’s most trusted advisers – including Tom Watson, the former Cabinet Office minister, and Charlie Whelan, the Prime Minister’s former spin doctor who is now the political director of the Unite union, have been effectively excluded.”

For the record: I was asked on at least two occasions to play a role in the national campaign. I declined because I wanted to spend the month of the election, campaigning in West Bromwich and larking about with my kids. For the Watson household, annual elections would be a joy.

Also for the record, though I disagreed with parts of his Digital Economy Bill, I have the highest regard for Peter Mandelson. No-one could lead Labour’s election campaign better than he. He has my total support in this campaign, as he has done since I was his photocopy boy in the 1987 general election.

It’s more than a quarter of a century since I took my first job as a trainee library assistant at Labour HQ. If I’ve learnt one thing in those years it’s that whoever you appoint as an election campaign manager is the boss. They make the calls. And thank heavens we have Peter running our operation.


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