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Booth toll;Diary

Much sadness in Islington, where we learn top barrister Cherie Booth has quit as governor at her daughter's primary school, St Joan of Arc's RC.

Colleagues on the board are disappointed to see her go but young Kathryn leaves in July, and mum moved out of Islington two years ago when hubby Tony got a new job.

A natural moment to step down as governor, then? Local Lib-Dem councillors don't think so: they scent an ideological rift.

Chris Pryce believes Cherie was ditched by Labour dinosaurs who have never forgiven the Blairs for sending their children to secondary schools outside the borough.

"It looks as if Old Labour has taken its revenge by declining to give her another term of office," he tells the Islington Gazette. "It shows that feuding and tribalism run deep in Labour."

The Labour party, which says Cherie gave in her notice ages ago, is deeply unhappy with such talk. "Utter lies, utter lies," fumes one local party insider. And in Downing Street, a sigh emanates from a press officer. "The reason she is standing down is that she hasn't got the time to carry on," he says.

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