I've just heard that Stoke Central MP, Mark Fisher (pictured) will be standing down at the general election. Mark has been ill for some time and feels someone in better health is needed to see the BNP off in the constituency.
Of course, this couldn't have come at a worse time for my CLP. The faction fight that has blighted the party since the Labour mayor of Stoke, Mark Meredith, was deposed by Democracy4Stoke (a cross party organisation led by several long-standing Labour party members), is damaging the campaign to make sure Mark's seat stays Labour. Scarcely a day goes by without local blog Pits n Pots carrying news on the latest shenanigans. And then last Saturday our campaign was hardly boosted by The Sentinel's front page story on how the party is to be sued by long-standing members Mick Williams, Gary Elsby and Barry Stockley. To add a selection battle to the mix is a situation pregnant with toxic possibilities.
I'd like to send Mark my best wishes and hope he enjoys life after Parliament. But for the rest of us in Stoke Labour, to say we're on the threshold of interesting times is an understatement.