The BBC has learnt that over the past 24 hours the Labour Party has begun recruiting key staff to work on an election campaign. The BBC has spoken to a number of individuals who have been asked if they can begin work on Monday. The people approached are currently self-employed or work for lobbyists, organisations sympathetic to Labour or in other political posts from which they can be released immediately. Their jobs range from campaign logistics to voter liaison and press relations with the media for a general election campaign which could be launched in the next fortnight.
The recruitment of campaign staff is not proof that a decision to call an election has been taken and these staff could just as quickly be told to return to their normal jobs. Gordon Brown's advisers continue to insist that he has taken no decision on whether to hold an early election. It is clear, however, that Labour have moved beyond contingency planning to active preparation for an election campaign which a growing number at this Conference believe the prime minister is about to launch.
PS: Was I only the one to feel like a wimp when hearing Jack Straw - or "The Justice" as he's known on the streets - outline his have-a-go hero antics? Jack's more than a tad older than me and much much fitter. It is he who is to blame for stirring me out of my darkened hotel room and onto Bournemouth beach for a jog this morning.