Labour's suicide mission knows no bounds. Their National Executive Committee have just suspended 5 Durham County Councillors from the Easington area apparently in some spat over women candidates (Labour in Easington only put up 4 women candidates for 24 seats). But what has been missed by the BBC in reporting this is that the suspensions have now stripped Labour of their majority on Durham County. Previously with a lead of 8 over the opposition, they are now in a minority of 2.
Make a note of this everyone - for Labour had held Durham County Council since 1919.
Adding to their self-inflicted woes is the position of one of the suspended councillors, Alan Napier. He is Leader of Easington District Council. By the looks of it, not for much longer. As a suspendee (is there such a word?) he is no longer eligible to serve in a Labour administration, never mind as Leader. Mind you, his successor as Leader of Easington will be the equivalent of a new captain being appointed to the Titanic after the ship had struck the iceberg but before she finally went down - Easington Council has one year left before it is abolished. Councillor Napier was also thought of as a likely deputy leader of the new unitary Durham County. Not any more.
And then there is the case of Albert Nugent, leader of the County Council until yesterday. He is one of the suspended Gang of Five. The suspension of this Old Labour party boss was perfectly timed for his New Labour opponents. University lecturer Simon Henig, who my spies tell me is New Labour to the core, is now the new Leader - the election by the Labour group was yesterday and dear old Albert was, alas, no longer entitled to stand or even attend the group meeting.
So interesting times ahead in the former Labour fortress of Durham County. The outer walls of the defences have been breached (mainly by the Lib Dems) and the defending Labour guards have turned their weapons on each other. Thanks guys.