Why taking the plane can add to the strain

Some senior Labour MPs were left cursing the choice of Manchester for the elevation of Gordon Brown to succeed Tony Blair, and the promotion of Harriet Harman as deputy leader.

This was mainly because of the markedly fewer transport choices from London. Deputy leadership hopeful Alan Johnson, for instance, found himself squeezed into an aeroplane within a few feet of hacks from the Daily Mirror and the Hull Daily Mail.

Fine going up, when Johnson was still hopeful of victory. Not so great on the way back south afterwards when the last thing a miserable Johnson wanted to do was talk to members of the fourth estate.

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