Oldham East has had no MP since Phil Woolas was disbarred and the result of last May's election was declared null and void, but we still don't have a date for the by-election. A writ could be moved at any time in the House of Commons but no-one plans to do so until High Court judges have given their ruling on whether the decision of the Election Court is open to judicial review.
The Oldham Evening Chronicle reports that this is expected within the next few days, which probably means at the beginning of the week commencing 29 November. The legal opinions being heard by Liberal Democrats suggest that the way will then be clear to move the writ later in the week, but that now means a by-election early in January.
Oh good! Just what we need to work off Christmas excesses.
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats are working well and there is a very cheerful atmosphere in the HQ set up in Tanner's Mill, Greenfield, just a field or two away from my home in Saddleworth. We want volunteers through the door NOW. As the campaign will be a little longer than expected the work underway is quite measured, and while leaflets are being delivered the concentration is on canvassing - which also keeps down the costs.
A lot is getting done, and we've had a good sprinkling of MPs through the HQ doors. My colleague from the European Parliament, Baroness Sarah Ludford, came up from London last week. She told me that she went canvassing with a little trepidation, wondering what the reaction would be to the Coalition Government. "It was fine, no problem at all except from people who were hard Labour and who always had been hard Labour" she reported. "I enjoyed it."