Shadow cast out

April 18, 1997

Some kinds of pain are not dulled by repetition, confirms Labour's further and higher education spokesman Bryan Davies as his search for a seat ended in failure last week.

But at least he is being spared the shock peculiar to losing a seat on election night, his fate in Enfield North in 1979: "That is very sudden and terribly painful - you feel as though you have let lots of people down," he says.

Last time round losing his job led to a spell as a welder's mate, working on an installation in the operating theatres at Grimsby Hospital. "I still feel relieved that there has been no accident which can be blamed on my inexperience." Eventually he returned full-time to politics as secretary of the Parliamentary Labour party, acquiring a fine stock of anecdotes about the crazy days of the early 1980s. No such hiatus is likely this time. David Blunkett, appreciative of the efforts of his hardworking and effective front bench team, is expected to want to keep him somewhere in the machinery of government.

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