Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - "Blair needs Campbell"

You know the world has gone mad when Britain's biggest-selling daily newspaper tells its readers that Tony Blair can't do without his chief spin-doctor, Alastair Campbell.

The Sun even goes so far as to say that if Campbell were forced out it would be the beginning of the end for Blair. The truth is that no one working as an unelected adviser is indispensable and, in this case, Blair would have been better advised to let Campbell go after the last election. No single act would have been more effective in convincing the electorate that new Labour had abandoned spin.

One reason why there is now a spate of stories about the Prime Minister's chief spin-doctor is because he has overstayed his welcome. Despite his best efforts, Campbell can't escape responsibility for the Cheriegate debacle. He may have "let it be known" that he had always warned against Cherie's friend Carole Caplin, but he should never have been allowed to let his press office brief as Mrs Blair instructed. He knows better than most how unreliable the PM's wife is. At least Campbell wasn't responsible for Cherie's "confession"; that was Peter Mandelson. It is the twice-disgraced minister who is behind the latest anti-Campbell stories. He still blames Campbell for his last departure from government.

The word on the street is that the cabinet secretary, Sir Andrew Turnbull, has had enough of Campbell, whom he also blames for "Cheriegate". This is bollocks. Turnbull wouldn't say boo to a goose. No, it's not the civil servants who want Campbell's resignation, it's those in the media who no longer trust him. I hope he goes soon so that I can read his diary and, in particular, the incident when he threatened to knock my head off.

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