SOMEBODY high in Labour’s local ranks told me last week that Frank Dobson announcing he was stepping down from life as MP was no longer a big story, simply because so many people were already aware of his decision. With successors clearly jostling for position, it was, the suggestion went as if he had already made an official announcement.
People say he has talked about confirming his intention ‘after the council elections’ or ‘first week in June’, the will-he, won’t-he of it all apparently no longer being an issue. Such is the swirling anticipation, it would actually be quite funny if Frank actually said now that he’s going nowhere and will stand again.
Quite rightly his departure will be done on his terms, although the convention is to at least to tell the constituency members first. That’s why there was a draw of breath last week at the first general member meeting in Camden following the local elections, only for a gust of expectation to be popped when he sent his apologies and did not attend. The next gathering of this kind is not until later this month.
But maybe he has said it out loud already. The story doing the rounds among members is that during a visit to Eleanor Palmer school in Kentish Town a couple of weeks ago, he apparently told inquisitive primary school pupils that he was coming to the end of his time at Parliament. There we no journalists there and we have instead to rely on school sources who said people had come away with no doubt in their mind that he is now on the final lap.