Labour sheathes Excalibur

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The Independent Online
Excalibur, the rapid rebuttal computer at the heart of Labour's election campaign, has been wound down because of a shortage of cash. Where there were 10 party workers constantly inputting facts and quotes into the machine for easy retrieval, now there is just one.

According to a report in this week's New Statesman, the party is in the red after a "massive overspend" during the election. Excalibur, which was introduced three years ago by Peter Mandelson, costs pounds 250,000 a year to run. Party officials said last night that the machine would be revived in the autumn.