f Cherie Blair hadn't got morning sickness already, the papers might just have brought it on. Blooming Cherie clutching a tabloid's bouquet, pages and pages of baby bliss, fashion advice for mothers- to-be ... everything bar a cut-out-and-keep guide to making your very own Blair babe.
So the Prime Minister and his wife are having a fourth child. Brilliant. Good for them. It is a wonderful story and a real coup for the newspaper that broke it. But by day two, coverage was spiralling out of control as rival editors compared their scoop sizes. Worse still, the media frenzy was being fuelled by Alastair Campbell, the Prime Minister's press secretary, who was only too happy after seeing the Ken Livingstone fiasco on every front page for a week to feed everyone a few titbits, including a less than subtle hint about where and when the child was conceived.
Poor Mrs Blair. She wasn't even allowed the luxury of telling her own father he was going to be a grandfather again, or get used to the idea of being pregnant at 45. Then there was the inevitable row over who had got the story first.
The Sun claimed it as a "world exclusive", arguing that no one could claim the scoop as it appeared in the first edition of more than one paper. The Mirror claimed it had got the "scoop of the year", which soon became the "scoop of the millennium". Downing Street gave it the credit in the official statement confirming the story.
The story also redressed the balance between the Mirror and the Sun, its arch-rival. Earlier in the week, Rupert Murdoch's tabloid displayed a picture of the Prime Minister at its Wapping offices, marking the paper's 30th anniversary. Just to push the point home, the headline had the Prime Minister saying of the red-top: "Oooh, you are awful, but I like you." If that stuck in the craw of the Mirror's editor, Piers …