On the day that Alistair Campbell revealed that Tony Blair had to rescue Gordon Brown from inside a locked toilet, our new PM may be looking for another quick intervention.

There is only just over a week to go in the Ealing Southall by-election caused by the death of 82 year old MP, Piara Khabra. He had a majority of 11,440. Surely a comfortable election hold for the government?

The first barometer test for Gordon will be far closer than imagined for two reasons. The Conservative have chosen a local candidate, Tony Lit, who is proving popular in the constituency. Labour on the other hand, have had an almighty squabble over their candidate . Having seen a Hindi candidate imposed on the constituency, five Sikh councillors defected to the Conservatives praising Tony Lit and the Council that returned to Conservative control in 2006.

Whatever the result, it just goes to prove not to bet on by-elections. They invariably take on a life of their own despite the best intentions of seasoned campaigners trying to run the show. I’m sure there will be more fun and frolics before polling day.