The stresses and strains of early selections take their toll...
My Colleague Mark Bigley, the PPC for Southport, has stood down this week, he says for personal and family reasons.
Mark was, along with myself and about 22 others, a member of the small group of parliamentary candidates 'fast-tracked' immediately after the 2005 election in a programme designed to maintain the momentum built up in our seats.
He is the second 'fast track' PPC to resign recently; my good friend Paul Offer packed it in at the end of last year after complaining about dark deeds by some members of his association; but also I suspect because he had concerns about the diverting impact of being a PPC on his career.
The fact is being a candidate and nursing a seat is a huge commitment not just for oneself but also for the family. It is a massive financial commitment, I estimate that the cost to me personally of fighting the 2005 election measured in loss of earnings leading up to the election and then restoring my momentum afterwards, relocation, donations and supporting costs to be well over £150,000. And it is a constant demand on ones time and energy, David Camerons recent two visits to the bay involved me taking three days off work, the election a fourth, all in one month. How lucky I am to have a forgiving boss!
And contrary to popular public imagination we don't get paid a brass razoo for doing the job of PPC.
So I am not surprised that for some the burden is too great, especially as the election looks more and more likely to be 2010 at the earliest.
My best wishes to Mark and his family, he has done a great job there and the party owes him a debt of gratitude.