The insider - Kevin Maguire on Fatty Soames's titfer

Sedgemore's last service, Soames explains his trilby, and Blair photo spotted at last

Chat on the Labour grapevine is that a very prominent Tory confided that Labour will win, despite its recent wobbles, because four weeks of Michael Howard will put people off voting Conservative. The chap, a millionaire one-time wannabe prime minister now said to leaf through furniture catalogues in the House of Lords, whispered the heresy in the ear of a clubbable Labourite. The latter shared this information with a few pals, who passed it on to colleagues, who chatted with neighbours, who told the lady who does the ironing. I hold to the adage that nothing should be believed until it is officially denied. So I decided against ringing Michael Heseltine.

To Eltham with David Blunkett, who is waiting to return to the cabinet should Labour win. His guide dog Sadie excites more comment than nanny visas or paternity battles in this working-class slice of south-east London. The former home secretary deploys her pretty much as Bob Carolgees manipulated his Spit the Dog puppet on the TV cult show Tiswas. Blunkett asks to drive a racing car and is disappointed to be informed that he's not allowed; the community centre's giant Scalextrick isn't working.

Tony Blair, seen limping after hurting his knee in the gym, was dismissive of the Labour defector Brian Sedgemore. Yet the Liberal Democrats' newest recruit had performed one last, loyal service to Labour. Shortly before parliament was dissolved, he put down a series of questions on behalf of his old party, all of which required civil service time to dig up answers, which could then be used as free research in the election campaign. The Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin, was blocking such inquiries. But as the Labour whips realised, he didn't suspect the serial rebel Sedgemore of being in their pay.

Spotted canvassing in a trilby is the man-mountain Nicholas "Fatty" Soames, weighty testament to the enduring appeal of traditional English fayre and fine French wines. A former girlfriend allegedly compared making love to Fatty to a wardrobe falling on top of her, with a small key sticking out. But I digress. The trilby was spied atop this Old Etonian scion of the Churchill dynasty in mid-Sussex on a beautiful spring afternoon. "Pa told me," he explained, "it was harder for them to call you a c*** if you doff a hat at them."

Spare a thought for poor Liberal Democrat Jody Dunn, rerunning in Hartlepool after coming within 2,033 votes of taking Peter Mandelson's old patch in a by-election last September. The family-law barrister was forced to emend her website to accommodate a split from her husband, after the public prints highlighted a fling with a local hack. Now her former landlord has gone to the county court to claim £1,400 unpaid rent on a Hartlepool marina apartment. In keeping with the spirit of modern campaigning, Dunn says she texted him to say she'd moved out.

At last a Labour hopeful is unearthed with a photograph of Blair in his election leaflet. It is the prospective parliamentary candidate for the new Scottish seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. Gordon Brown, for it is he, gives the PM equal billing with a woman in a yellow cagoule, though both have less prominence than the Provost of Fife.

Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror