In politics the proof of guilt is denial and there have been denials all round.
Paula Bennett blamed me for all the speculation that the numbers are being done by some of her colleagues by saying that I've written so much about her rise and demise that if she listened to it she would have been gone from politics long ago.
Maybe she should start listening to her caucus colleagues!
National's campaign manager Steven Joyce was just as vehement saying the suggestion that cliques are forming in their caucus are completely wrong. Joyce said it's classic first day journalists "speculating on National's leadership, job done".
After almost 40 years observing them close up, including 10 Prime Ministers who've come and gone bar one, it's hardly first day journalism. It's actually getting around the talking to politicians and there's a common thread that runs through rumbles on leadership, there are denials not just from those who're involved in leadership but from those who're close to it.
And the reason for that is simple; they're the last to know.
The only realistic response came from Bill English who said he'd be surprised if there isn't any political caucus where there isn't at some time talk about who's next in line. He said politicians are ambitious people and he wouldn't be surprised at all if there wasn't some talk among his colleagues.
The talk is that English will be allowed to leave under his own terms, he'll decide the timing. But the expectation is that he will bow out before the next election, realising that competing against a young mother with a cute two year old, is beyond him.
Clearly experiencing two election losses as leader has made English more realistic.
After taking National to its biggest ever defeat with just over 20 percent of the vote in 2002 English was determined to stay on but former Reserve Bank Guv Don Brash had other ideas and a year later executed them.
In response to my speculation then that Brash had the numbers on the day of the vote, English was on the phone and the invective flowed thick and fast about how wide of the mark I was about his impending defeat. He was told then that of course those who were opposed to him would say they were for him, knowing if they were really truthful and he survived, they wouldn't.
That's how it runs and Bennett should bear that in mind.