The Sun's sub-editor takes receipt of Kelvin MacKenzie's copy for his weekly column
Alas, poor Kelvin! There he was, ready to embark on the next stage of his nascent political vocation, only for the plug to be pulled by the guy who really matters, his boss (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jun/16/sun.rupertmurdoch ).
There has been no word from MacKenzie himself, but without Murdoch's backing his campaign would be a non-starter:
"The Sun has not referred to the mooted campaign by its columnist once in print since MacKenzie and Murdoch, the paper's proprietor, discussed it at a party on Thursday evening for the paper's editor, Rebekah Wade."
This suggests that the Murdoch empire soon sobered up about MacKenzie's putative candidacy. Moreover, the Guardian report notes that Trevor Kavanagh, the Sun's assistant editor, has diluted the paper's initial hostility to David Davis, whose resignation from the Commons has triggered the byelection. The real clincher, however, in identifying Murdoch's real motive for this apparent volte-face is fleetingly acknowledged in the article:
"News International executives are understood to be wary of fielding a candidate against the Conservative party, which could interfere with the Sun's policy to always back the winner of election campaigns."
Perhaps those with access to Murdoch's ear were finally reduced to yelling down it after they had read Peter Wilby's column in today's Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jun/16/pressandpublishing.dailytelegraph ).