Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - "Tony Blair strengthens election team"

It's just typical of our Great Leader to try to turn the disaster of losing yet another minister into positive headlines about his "bold" promotions.

Astonishingly, he still gets away with it. But one man who I know will not appreciate the official spin that he's been moved up the greasy pole is Tony Blair's former office boy David Miliband. The poor lad's been moved from a high-flying post in the Department for Education and Skills to the Cabinet Office to work on the manifesto and election campaign. In other words, he's gone back to doing exactly what he did in the leader's office before he became an MP. Some promotion! What we're not told is that he's gone there to help out Alan Milburn, who has been struggling with his new campaign job.

Even more embarrassing for Milburn is the confirmation that Alastair Campbell is coming back to help him out. Given that Blair sacked his spin-doctor because he had become such a liability, it is hardly a confidence boost for his campaign chief. The real fear at Labour HQ is that Campbell will insist on appearing on radio and TV during the campaign. I'm told that when focus groups are shown TV footage of Campbell, there is an instant and huge negative response, so watch out for the internal battle to keep him off our screens.

Milburn will also not be happy with the genuine promotion of Charles Clarke. The two have already fallen out over the manifesto, and Clarke is unlikely to want such a right-wing agenda as does Blunkett or Milburn, because he has leadership ambitions himself. Fortunately for Blair, the Tories are in such a sorry state that even though Labour's campaign is likely to become a shambles, it doesn't matter much.

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