IT is not altogether surprising that Lord Levy, Tony Blair's chief fundraiser, tennis partner and sometime special envoy to the Middle East, should want to get his own back on the Labour Party for involving him in the cash-for-peerages inquiry that led to nothing last year. Lord Levy had an unpleasant experience and is fully entitled to set the record straight as he sees it. Whether he is right to try to do down Gordon Brown in the process is another question altogether.

In his oddly-named book, A Question of Honour, whose serialisation began on Sunday, Lord Levy claims that Tony Blair told him “on a number of occasions” that he was convinced “Brown would not beat Cameron at an election”. Mr Blair's office immediately issued a statement that Lord Levy's account was “not an accurate reflection of what Mr Blair said.” That denial, while welcome, does rather raise the question of why the prime minister might even have been discussing a senior colleague with someone who was not a member of the government.

Lord Levy cannot be unaware that his book, and particularly the timing of its serialisation, will not be helpful to the Labour Party in an election week. Perhaps his loyalty is only to Tony Blair? If so, this raises once again the problems that arise from involving people with no loyalty to a party in the higher reaches of government.