The surprise expressed on-line at the sudden departure of ex Cabinet minister James Purnell will be short-lived. In his statement he said himself “I have spent all my working life in or about Westminster. And while this has been a huge privilege, I’ve realised I don’t want to have spent all my life in frontline politics. I’m looking forward to completing my project at Demos. After that my hope is to contribute ideas to public service and to the Labour party.”
Whatever the outcome of the election there is no frontline future for Purnell. He publicly quit the cabinet in an attempt to force Gordon out and he failed. In politics that means that you exit stage left. This may well be a clearing of the decks before the date of the election is announced. There is much chatter around the Labour mini conference planned in Coventry tomorrow and if Gordon doesn’t name the date, and he might, he will certainly be setting out his stall and by tea time tomorrow Purnell’s political pursuits will be a footnote.