It is a truth universally acknowledged in football that when a manager is described as having the full support of the chairman, then that manager should start scanning the 'Sits Vac' column of Footie Manager Today and clearing some of the stuff from his desk.
Much the same applies to Tony's ringing endorsement of his embattled (TM all papers) Work and Pensions Secretary, David Blunkett. How firm that support is remains to be seen, given that DB is reported to have qualms over some of the more Thatcherite extremism emanating from Downing Street over forcing the sick and the lame back to work and off the sick list. Perhaps TB has a greater view of his own miraculous powers than the rest of us.
This story has now taken on a life of its own - entirely separate from how Blunkett performs at the DWP - and therein lies the problem. Once the person becomes the story, then there is a well-trodden path towards eventual resignation. Perhaps not today, but if the story rumbles on a few more days, Blunkett's woes will get more press coverage than anything else the government does. The only way to staunch the flow of media reports is to cauterise the wound, so expect to see the usual exchange of letters shortly unless the story goes away VERY quickly.