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Last Updated: Monday, 18 April, 2005, 20:55 GMT 21:55 UK
Minister gagged

By Mark Simpson
North of England correspondent

POSTED: Monday 18 April, 2045BST

Dr John Reid was left speechless tonight for the first time anyone can remember.

A daring plan to link by satellite from one Labour campaign event to another fell at the first hurdle.

Dr Reid, the health secretary, was all picture and no sound in front of 600 people in Birmingham - including Tony Blair. It's what TV people call "goldfishing" - you can see the lips moving but you can't hear anything.

Labour's sound-doctors soon cured the problem, much to the relief of master-of-ceremonies Kevin Whately (the actor of Peak Practice and Inspector Morse fame).

He wasn't the only TV star lending support to Labour this evening - there was a cameo appearance from Prunella Scales (Sybil in Fawlty Towers).

Kylie Minogue was also in Birmingham, but much to the disappointment of Labour's under 30s, she was at a different gig.

Why only John Reid? Couldn't this be done to the whole lot of them?
Alan, London UK

So we all know what Kevin Whately is up to after Inspector Morse's untimely demise. And whatever is Mrs Fawlty thinking of? Serves them right.
Cyril Ord, Berwick, England

Was Kylie goldfishing too?
Ali Sutcliffe, Sheffield

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