There are about 20 different rumours flying round Darlington and the North East in Labour Party circles regarding the forthcoming selection for PPC (Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) to replace Alan Milburn.
They're richly entertaining but mostly baloney - it's way too early to know who will emerge as Labour's challenger for the 2010 campaign. I am going to have to disappoint fellow blogger Mike Barker, however, in confirming that I won't be throwing my hat in the ring.
After a gruelling European campaign, including the short campaign which used up all of my annual leave, I really can't devote the kind of time to the race necessary - particularly when the selection may not take place until November. I owe it to my family to pass the opportunity to run, and I'm conscious that it has been (ahem) some months since I got a leaflet out around the ward. Finally, like many at the moment, I'm having to work stupid hours just to get the job done (7 days solid this week, for example). So I'll have to pass.
Having said that, it is of course entirely possible that the party members of Darlington would have blown a gigantic raspberry at me. We shall never know.
At the end of the day, you have to do what's right for you and your family, and that means I'm going to sit this one out. Fortunately, I know that there are several talented and dedicated potential candidates out there testing the water, and I'm sure that we will finish with a seat-winning candidate at the end of the process.