James Purnell, one of the few remaining Blairites with a chance of becoming Labour leader, shocked his party this morning by announcing that he was quitting Parliament at the election.Update: This is unexpected news, and as the Times points out, it sends a message Purnell believes Labour are doomed at this election. For all the talk of Labour closing the gap and a possible hung Parliament, it's interesting that the behaviour of Labour MPs seems to suggest otherwise. What do they know that the polls aren't showing?
Insiders said that Mr Purnell had nothing lined up for his life after Parliament.
His departure is another blow to the Labour leadership, because it sends out the message that one of the party’s youngest heavyweight stars sees no immediate future in politics for himself, and probably for his party.
The timing is interesting, today is Brown's big speech and tomorrow he launches Labour's election campaign.