NEWS: Labour unlikely to replace Johnson in the short term

LONDON - Joy Johnson, Labour’s outgoing director of campaigns, elections and media, will not be directly replaced, according to party sources.

Instead, at least in the short term, her job will be covered by existing

staff, including chief party spokesman Dave Hill and campaigns strategy

co-ordinator Karen Buck. However, following Buck’s selection as a

prospective parliamentary candidate, she herself is likely to have to go

part-time before the next general election.

Johnson resigned on Monday after less than one year in the job, during

which there have been persistent rumours of a rift between herself and

the party’s chief spin doctors Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell.

Johnson will remain in her post for a few weeks, and is currently

discussing job possibilities in commercial television. A return to the

BBC - where she was Westminster news editor for two years - is, however,

ruled out.

A TV news veteran of 16 years, Johnson said she had found it hard to

make the transition from being an ‘observer, questioning everything’ to

being a ‘participant’ in political life. She said she had ‘no regrets’

about taking the job. ‘It’s been a year where I’ve learned an awful

lot....that will help me in anything I do in the future,’ she said. ‘I

have made mistakes, but that’s different.’

According to Labour sources, Johnson’s contempt for ‘spin doctoring’

landed her in hot water during the party’s annual conference last

October, when she was reported to have objected to Campbell’s heavy-

handed attempt to get BBC news to lead with Blair’s speech.

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