Principal contender

August 8, 2003

The prime minister may this week be sunning himself on a beach in Barbados, but his mind is elsewhere. Colleagues say Tony Blair is not particularly good at leaving his work completely behind, so by now he is surely sketching out plans for who is to become the next principal of King's College London.

The current incumbent, Arthur Lucas, is due to step down at the end of next month. As it is a Crown appointment, two names must go to Downing Street for the final decision to be made. As The Diary went to press, one contender was said to be Tessa Blackstone, former higher education minister and ex-master of Birkbeck College, London.

Baroness Blackstone, who lost her job as arts minister in June's reshuffle, was recently spotted at a reception to mark the end of Roderick Floud's time as president of Universities UK, adding some credence to the rumour.

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