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Peter's nemesis

Another contest to watch could be Hartlepool, where one candidate hoping to unseat fallen New Labour idol Peter Mandelson is John Booth, "genuine Labour". Mr Booth is perhaps most famous for getting Independent columnist Donald Macintyre's book pulped for repeating libels about his work as a press officer uner Peter Mandelson in 1986.

Back in the early 1980s, he became a favourite bug-bear of the right wing press as a high-profile press officer at the National Union of Teachers. The Daily Mail even said he condemned a DJ for playing "Land of Hope and Glory" at a union disco - a charge he denied.

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