Kelly cock up rather than conspiracy

The manner of Ruth Kelly’s departure has caused far more political fall-out than the actual fact of her resignation. I was at the Labour party conference, and indeed bumped into Tom Harris the junior transport minister at 11pm that night, and blissfully went to bed with absolutely no knowledge about the momentous events taking place in the bars of the Midland hotel. I was then berated by my friends for missing the story but that was a bit unfair – the press conference announcing her departure was at 3am for chrissake and if even Tom Harris did not know, how could I be expected to. Another great scoop missed.
It is pretty obvious what happened. Some daft junior No 10 (or Department) aide had a drink too many and started boasting about what s/he (probably a he!) knew. It is difficult to imagine that this was part of some clever plot by Blairites to turn the attention away from Brown’s big speech given earlier that day. While it certainly did have that effect, I subscribe to the cock up view of history on this one, as usual.
More interesting is who will succeed her. My outside bet is Dawn Primarolo who was a long time minister under Brown at the Treasury and is one of the few to have served in the government the whole time since 1997, without ever achieving high rank. My best bet though is Caroline Flint, who I understand Brown is keen to promote.

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