Thursday, 4 June 2009

JAMES PURNELL RESIGNS

Not sure if the main site will be able to handle the traffic, even with comments limited to 50 per page, so the discussion can continue here if necessary.

Gordon Brown's premiership is now in its death throes. This is the end.

"Me" has left the full text of his letter in the comments - here reproduced:

""Dear Gordon

We both love the Labour Party.

I have worked for it for twenty years and you for far longer. We know we owe it everything and it owes us nothing.

I owe it to our Party to say what I believe no matter how hard that may. I now believe your continued leadership makes a Conservative victory more not less likely

That would be disastrous for our country. This moment calls for stronger regulation, an active state, better public services, an open democracy.

It calls for a government that measures itself by how it treats the poorest in society. Those are our values, not David Cameron's.

We therefore owe it to our country to give it a real choice. We need to show that we are prepared to fight to be a credible government and have the courage to offer an alternative future.

I am therefore calling on you to stand aside to give our Party a fighting chance of winning. And as such I am resigning from Government.

The Party was here long before us, and we want it to be here long after we have gone. We must do the right thing by it.

I am not seeking the leadership, nor acting with anyone else. My actions are my own considered view, nothing more.

If the consensus is that you should continue, then I will support the government loyally from the backbenches. But I do believe that this question now needs to be put.

Thank you for giving me the privilege of serving.

Yours

Rt Hon James Purnell MP"


Morus

114 comments:

Jonathan said...

Margaret Hilda Purnell?

Time to start selling those Tory seats?

tawny said...

Thanks for putting this up. The main site must be hopping, I can't get in. Adam Boulton was just commenting that he's never seen Downing Street so dark.

Me said...

I want the main site, pleasee!

Richard said...

There was a wonderful shot by Sky News of 10 Downing Street in complete darkness. Adam Boulton described it as something he has not seen in 25 years. It's a metaphor.

The end of Brown. But will it be a terrible fight that leaves them out of power for 20 years? Or will berks like Caroline Flint drag the inevitable out even further?

Will said...

so that is that! he will be gone by next month, surely. Cancel those holidays....

C said...

Jonathan,

If it becomes an open leadership election might we all be surprised by the outcome

Sparky said...

Sky thrashing the Beeb who aren't even covering it!

Mike on Five Live says Gordon is dead.

Purnell is good mates with Milliband - not sure how relevant.

Anonymous said...

LTL posts - there you are LOL.. it's hotting now.

antifrank said...

Well done, Morus.

Jonathan, I'm afraid it's probably the opposite. There doesn't seem to be a co-ordinated plot, which means that we're in for chaotic plotting now.

I am so glad that 30 minutes ago I got 13/8 with Paddy Power for Gordon Brown to go by the end of August.

LTL said...

test

Me said...

Great leading article!

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article6434028.ece

LL said...

Thanks Morus.

antifrank said...

I do hope that Gordon Brown gets to finish his reshuffle. I have bets to win.

Pumpkin said...

Purnell surely can't expect to win an election - if he plans to force Gordon out the best he could hope for is to lose by a recoverable margin and try to win a second time

Me said...

Times leading article

London said...

Murdoch has slaughtered the Beeb.

Can't help thinking Purnell spoke to them first, knowing that if he spoke to the Beeb they'd leak it to No. 10?

antifrank said...

The Sun has the full resignation letter:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2465668/Minister-James-Purnell-quits-Cabinet-in-a-devastating-blow-for-PM-Gordon-Brown.html

Jonathan said...

She did it. Why can't he?

Chris A said...

Well certainly I can't get on. IS Brown still PM?

antifrank said...

Jonathan, he could, but he's said explicitly in his resignation letter that he's not seeking the leadership nor acting with anyone else.

antifrank said...

Jonathan, he could, but he's said explicitly in his resignation letter that he's not seeking the leadership nor acting with anyone else.

fr said...

.Flint looked very foolish in her interview, claiming innocence over any plots only seconds after Boulton told us she had been phoning her colleagues asking what they would do.

Chris A said...

Speaking of the Sun - any news from David R?

Me said...

"Dear Gordon

We both love the Labour Party.

I have worked for it for twenty years and you for far longer. We know we owe it everything and it owes us nothing.

I owe it to our Party to say what I believe no matter how hard that may. I now believe your continued leadership makes a Conservative victory more not less likely

That would be disastrous for our country. This moment calls for stronger regulation, an active state, better public services, an open democracy.

It calls for a government that measures itself by how it treats the poorest in society. Those are our values, not David Cameron's.

We therefore owe it to our country to give it a real choice. We need to show that we are prepared to fight to be a credible government and have the courage to offer an alternative future.

I am therefore calling on you to stand aside to give our Party a fighting chance of winning. And as such I am resigning from Government.

The Party was here long before us, and we want it to be here long after we have gone. We must do the right thing by it.

I am not seeking the leadership, nor acting with anyone else. My actions are my own considered view, nothing more.

If the consensus is that you should continue, then I will support the government loyally from the backbenches. But I do believe that this question now needs to be put.

Thank you for giving me the privilege of serving.

Yours

Rt Hon James Purnell MP"

The letter

Fitaloon said...

Guardian thinks it is all over

David Herdson said...

Rumours of Brown's death have been greatly exaggerated before but this is the biggest crisis of his leadership. Purnell's put the ball in Brown's court but the next move remains Brown's. Purnell isn't worth a full Howe and there's still no Heseltine figure (yet).

Value bets tonight? Osborne next Chancellor, Hague next FS. Darling and Miliband are safe now whoever's leader short of them doing something (else) stupid.

dr spyn said...

Another one bites the dust. But another man with a tarnished reputation. Claims by Toenails that it was unexpected. If there is a significant plot, then others ought to refuse to serve with or work with McBrown.

This Prime Minister and government has lost both credibility and authority.

Jonathan said...

Of course he denied it.

He has to deny wanting the leadership for now.

But everything has changed nonetheless.

antifrank said...

Jonathan, you can't resign disclaiming any interest in leadership in these circumstances and then stand as a candidate. James Purnell will be a kingmaker, not the king.

jsfl said...

Geraldine Smith on Sky:

Ranting against Purnell and Graham Allen and the other plotters - Civil War!

Rob Gomm said...

I'm excited! It's not for any partisan reason, but I've just never seen this kind of thing before. I was too young for Thatcher going and none of the other leadership changes I've seen have felt like this does at the moment.

How does Brown hang on?

Plato said...

Frank Dobson is a complete laughing stock.

"Purnell is a nobody, no one has heard of him..."

He's in charge of 100k civil servants responsible for employment, welfare and pensioners FFS.

DWP is bigger than HMRC and the Home Office.

What a dickhead Dobson is

antifrank said...

The Sun article is interesting in that it confidently asserts that "The [Labour] party is also on course to come FOURTH in the European elections when results emerge on Sunday night."

That could be the Sun journalists just blowing smoke rings, but I have no reason to doubt that it's based on something more solid.

tawny said...

Chris A - now we know why he went in to work so early.

Me said...

The main site is back. But it's very very slow.

jsfl said...

Labour Annihilated In Yorkshire Euro Elections>

ken said...

Blairite plot. Or at least this is what Brownites will say.

I think we missed the importance of Ministers who are "dirty" in the expenses game. Neither Blears or Purnell had much to lose.

Will Brown get his reshuffle? Depends on whether we lose another minister now.

toontoon said...

coffee house is saying that the foreign sec will go in the morning.

Scott P said...

Rumour from Coffeehouse, Milliband to resign tomorrow

LTL said...

Crikey thats one every day ..tll he's gone ?

ken said...

Miliband. Interesting. Means that Mandy was going to get Foreign Sec. But again, a Blairite plot. If Brown wants to survive he will need say Milburn to come in to balance the loss of Purnell, Miliband and Blears.

Anonymous said...

Go on Bananaman! Stick it to him!

Ted said...

25 comments a page needed I think .

Stunning action by Purnell, brave though by doing it IMHO it makes him a big beast in Labour earlier than expected and positions him well in future. Expect a lot of dirt on him in next few hours and days though.

Prodicus said...

Main site hopeless. Byrne is an arse BTW.

Anonymous said...

The pound's going to tank tomorrow. How low will it go?

alex said...

Cabinet rallying round. This is going to be chaos.

ken said...

Ted, but Purnell was damaged by expenses. I think this means that he was for the chop. This way, he gets to do some political "good" and perhaps saves a bit of capital for the future.

Brown was an idiot about all of this. He should either have backed the dirty ones outright or fired them in a show of strength. Instead they are using their weakness against him by going in a way that causes Brown damage.

Marcia said...

It's tin hats time as Labour's Civil War has started.

Scott P said...

If the reshuffle is cancelled I don't win (some of) my bets. Curses!

Sean Thomas said...

I think Brown is gone anyway - but if Miliband resigns then of course Broon is toasted.

dr spyn said...

Byrne would be out of his depth in a teardrop, like so many of these ministerial muppets.

Purnell according to Crick been in touch with 3 newspapers.

wibbler said...

Main PB site is up (for now)

Sean Thomas said...

This means a General Election by early Autumn, too.

*applauds*

fr said...

Rob Gomm,
You would have loved the old days. I used to get home from school and turn on the televised TUC conference and the Lab party conf and they would destroy each other up front, out in the open. At the TUC Lab MPs were treated like criminals.

Anonymous said...

Labour is absolutely split down the middle. Ministers all over the news backing Gordon. Backbenchers ready to strike against. Absolute chaos!

dr spyn said...

Crick bigging the BNP up. Trying very hard to downplay the Tories prospects.

wibbler said...

If Miliband resigns tomorrow (as rumoured by the Spectator) then he will go for leadership. That will force Harman to have a go too.

Great times, great times.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the TUC were anticipating New Labour.

alex said...

"Bigging them up"? He's saying they'll struggle to gain a seat.

Ted said...

Ken, as the Times points out his sale was of a house he owned before he was elected that had been his main home and still was in law. He wasn't as damaged as most of the cases highlighted (Guardan Media had a piece which suggested that the resurrection of Darlings expenses was at the urging of Downing St and doubtless Telegraph will be urged again with Purnell)

Fitaloon said...

Michael Crick says Alan Johnson has campaign in place. Gerry Sutcliffe MP (Sports Minister) will run it if Johnson pulls trigger.

alex said...

Livingstone - it's a Blairite coup.

NoOffenceAlan said...

This is like one of those horror B-movies, where the main interest is seeing who will survive till the closing credits.

toontoon said...

We had rumours of a dynamite story all day. Where is a senior member of the cabinet defending Brown? They had to know something like this was going to happen.

alex said...

Jack Straw has put out a statement backing Brown.

SimonStClare said...

Listening to MikeS and Mrs Dale on FiveLive…

Mr Smithson has a wonderful speaking voice, sounds like my father. Caroline Flint sounds
bl00dy awful.

jamesa said...

Tory Bear has live chat

Richard Nabavi said...

Entertaining evening.

Clearly Brown is toast. Given his already weak position, he cannot survive open challenges and damning criticism from Purnell, Blears, probably Miliband, etc etc.

Alan Johnson will be next PM.

Will Darling stay as Chancellor? Probably.

Balls and Woodward won't now get their 'Berlin in ruins' promotions.

alex said...

Sheerman to Livingstone: "I won't take any lessons from you on sleaze"


Ooooh.

Anonymous said...

Flint had her Clare Short moment - should have gone, missed the boat and lost credibility by picking wrong side

Richard Nabavi said...

Will Mandy get the FO? Yes if he is part of the plot. No, if he is not.

alex said...

I don't think Brown's finished, despite the prevailing view. There's a fairly large number of ministers coming out backing him, and others have already tied their hands into backing him.

SallyC said...

I can't get most of this where I am. Argghh.

I agree with Ken - Purnell was damaged and jumped before being pushed. He had apparently not spoken to Gordon in months

He hopes he has a long career ahead and it is a very clever ploy to be remembered as the one who famously resigned. It will allow him to be untainted by association with this Government in years to come when jouros summarise him in a sentence.
It is very damaging for Gordon. Let's see what those who have something to lose do.
So far all those who have gone have gone before being pushed oR have made a long term calculation. What are the Hatty's and Straws doing?

Yokel said...

Johnson is simply no longer value as low as 11/8 especially if a competition breaks out.

Sparky said...

Is this Shadsy?

http://tinyurl.com/r2369t

Good photo.

wibbler said...

I reckon a back me or sack me coming up.

alex said...

Doubt it wibbler. It will be the usual tactics. Flood the airwaves with supportive ministers and dare the backbenches to trigger civil war.

wibbler said...

I should add that Gordon should go for a public ballot rather than a secret one.

Then MPs are tied to him. A secret ballot is a cop-out.

Rob Roy said...

And Brown said an election would be chaos...

SallyC said...

Gordon will not do a back me or sack me unless there is a clear threat of an election if goes in the background.

I think the papaers will shout for an immediate election big time if they depose Brown. Not sure they are thinking about that right now. Either they calm down or we will be heading for an election.

alex said...

Turnout in Bristol between 20 and 30%

dr spyn said...

Anyone else notice the composition of Newsnight's Politics Pen.

Matthew Taylor, Deborah Matterson, Greg Dyke and Digby Jones, all of whom have had close links to NuLabour. Hardly an impartial by the BBC.

tawny said...

Gordon Brown makes a statement. Looks like he's not going anywhere and will be getting on with the job!

toontoon said...

So Purnell didn't tell Brown he was going until the paper went public just before ten. Ouch!

BBC reading No. 10 statement.

antifrank said...

tawny, "I fight on, I fight to win".

Anonymous said...

Tim B says - this is uncharted territory.

Brown cannot now make it until May next year I suspect.

If he can make a major reshuffle work he can buy some time, but this is the endgame.

He needs to decide whether to soldier on or not, and if so it's either a 'back me or sack me' leadership challenge, offering himself as an option, or the nuclear option - call an election.

we are also now into whether another coronation is acceptable etc.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but what job Gordon? You don't mean PM do you?

tawny said...

antifrank -while it is worse for the country, it is by far the most entertaining option.

Tabman said...

The Padster on top form tonight.

wibbler said...

I see 4 leadership contenders. In order of likelihood

Harman
Johnson
Miliband
Cruddas

wibbler said...

Labourlist reporting Burnham may be next to go.

Stuart Dickson said...

I can't get on to the main site: you can read the 4 most recent Morus/Smithson pieces, but when you press the "282 Comments" button you just get a white screen (both IE and Firefox).

Anyhoo, looks like we have seen an approx 8% swing from Labour to the SNP, from our highwater-mark of the May 2007 Holyrood election (32.9%).

If true, that takes the SNP firmly into mid-30's territory - our all-time record.

Fingers crossed! Won't find out until Monday!! :(

IJ said...

Where has PB gone to? The most important event in a long time and both channels are down!!!

Sort it out!!!

James Kelly said...

I'm slightly confused, Stuart. How do you get an 8% swing to take the SNP from 32.9% to mid-30s? An 8% swing would imply a 17% lead over Labour, so it's certainly not going to be that good. I have a feeling a few natural SNP voters might peel off to the Greens, and they'll end up in the high twenties.

Incidentally, the BBC News channel keeps saying 'a small consolation for Labour in the Glasgow by-election'. Evidently they've yet to notice the swing of almost 9.5% from labour to SNP!

Stuart Dickson said...

Sums was never my strong point James. :D

(Funnily enough I did get an A in my Higher Maths. I must have stayed up all night swotting.)

Anonymous said...

It looks like the plotters have bottled it. Good for Gordon, bad for Labour.

Anonymous said...

Gordon Brown always had, and has, the option of an immediate dissolution, which presents the plotters with mutually assured destruction.

agingjb

jsfl said...

Is the main site down?

David Nuttall said...

For some reason when I try and access the main site I keep getting a page from April 25th! Has Dr Who taken over? Are we in a timewarp?

Anonymous said...

David - same here.
Is OGH out for the count?

b.

jsfl said...

I'm getting the same it seems Pb has gone back in time!

Meanwhile there is an election going on!

Friedrich said...

I cannot comprehend why what is left of the cabinet is backing Brown now. There is no way back, how can anyone fail to see this? If Purnell was not enough, the election results will be.

If they want to buy time to organize a coronation - a contest is feasible and apparently preferred by backbenchers and grass roots. And who is to be coronated anway? Jonhson who is showing no leadership at all at this point?

If Labour had organized the French Revolution, half of them would have gone to the Bastille, one by one, attempting to storm it, while the other half would have voice their full support for Marie Antoinette's stance on cake.

Matt said...

News from Derbyshire locals via thisisderbyshire.co.uk:-

The Derbyshire Dales area of the county has finished declaring its results in the county council elections.

Of the six seats there, Conservatives now have five.

They took the only Labour seat of Wirksworth with Gary Purdy gaining 1,679 to sitting councillor Irene Ratcliffe’s 1,394.

They also took Derwent Valley from Liberal Democrats with Michael Longden getting 2,078 votes to Lib Dem Anthony Allwood’s 1,427.

But Liberal Democrats held on to Matlock. There Stephen Flitter got 2,009 votes to Conservative candidate Geoffrey Stevens’ 1,616.

Anonymous said...

This could be the final nail for Brown... word on the ground is that Derbyshire is going to fall to the Conservatives. That would be nothing short of seismic.

jsfl said...

Conhome: Claiming Cons take Somerset From Libdems.

jsfl said...

Doncaster Mayor:

Either an English Democrat or an Independent

Labour stronghold yeah right!

NorthernEconomist said...

is anyone else having problems accessing the main site?

Stuart Dickson said...

NorthernEconomist

Yes.

I'm suffering from cold turkey. :/

The BBC website is UTTER SHITE. No news from the English local elections whatsoever.

Surely we are witnessing the death of the stone age media like the BBC. They are just plain pathetic when it comes to delivering fast, factual news reports.

Privatise the buggers, or at least get rid of the licence fee. They are just incompetent. Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

whats up with the main site

Anonymous said...

I can only see the thread from April 25 whether by google chrome or IE7 I have told Mike

Stuart Dickson said...

BBC - "Projected National Share":

Lab 23%
Con 38%
LD 28%

Stuart Dickson said...

Staffordshire: CON gain from LAB

Stuart Dickson said...

Devon: CON gain from LD

Somerset: CON gain from LD

Stuart Dickson said...

Compared with the start of the Euro campaign in mid-May, the main beneficiaries in the Line Betting market have been the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the DUP:

Betfair - Party Seats Line

Con 354 - 357
Lab 206 - 213
LD 51 - 56.5
SNP 15 - 19
PC 5 - 6
DUP 6 – 9.5