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Life change for Kelly

Nick Robinson | 08:23 UK time, Wednesday, 24 September 2008

How very curious. In the early hours of this morning it was confirmed that Ruth Kelly was leaving her job as transport secretary, the reason, it was said, was for family reasons. It is clear that this is not the timing that Ms Kelly would have chosen.

Ruth KellyDowning Street are already denying suggestions that they released the news in order to reduce its impact. The official statement makes clear that Ms Kelly's decision is for family reasons.

It's certainly true that she's talked to friends of making a "life change" saying she's done her time and that the family needs her more. Indeed she asked Gordon Brown four months ago to leave the government; he asked her to stay on until the next reshuffle.

So why the mystery then? Well it is well known that Ruth Kelly was among those most unhappy with the direction of the Labour Party under Gordon Brown. Indeed some cabinet colleagues had talked of joining her in a group resignation in order to make a statement about Gordon Brown's leadership and possibly to help precipitate a leadership contest.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Perhaps the timing was to take the headlines away from the sell-off of British Energy to EDF.

    The last bit of the family silver has been sold to the French government.

  • Comment number 3.

    For those without a sense of humour... a serious point.

    Isn't it rich that politicians can make these choices (to give up well paying jobs).

    While the general public can nolonger even expect to retire -- to pay for Labours profligancy we can only look forward to working till we drop into the grave.

  • Comment number 4.


  • Comment number 5.

    After the Independent explicitly stated that talk of cabinet ministers plotting a coup was complete junk, how can I believe a single word you're saying, Nick? I've caught the BBC being selective and biased on a few headlines recently when the underlying facts painted a much more settled picture. Now, you expect us to believe in a group resignation?

    Dude, people make "life changes". Your wife is a relationship councillor so should know that. Plus, I had one of those moments myself a few years ago. It's something people do. I'm not going to blow my personal life over the net but there's plenty of high profile BBC employees that have done similar things and people aren't suggesting the DG is on the skids.

    I'm actually pretty relaxed about the government, now. I think, their idea of nuanced policy reasoning is exactly right, and some more constructive scrutiny of the opposition might be helpful. Folks need room to breath and a positive nudge, and all I'm seeing off you recently is razzle dazzle and the Dummies Guide to Machiavelli. One of us needs a holiday and I don't really care which at the moment.

  • Comment number 6.

    "She remained "a fan" of his, he added" (ie brown said)

    So Gordon Brown doesn't have colleagues anymore, he has "fans". Sounds about right for a despot.

    How arrogant is it to call your colleagues your "fans" ? It goes to show just how deluded/mad he really is.

    Kind of sums him up really.

    I don't blame Ruth Kelly for leaving, although I don't think it was fair for Brown to push her out just a few days before a reshuffle just to deflect the media from his own problems.

  • Comment number 7.

    "Leaving for family reasons" - good set of political weasel words there. What's the *real* reason, then?

    Tata Ruth, don't let the door hit you on the backside as you leave.

  • Comment number 8.

    Lest readers forget:

    Glad to see the back of her.

  • Comment number 9.

    A perfect example of an incompetent Blair babe who made one of the worst presentations of policy to the House in decades.

    Her half baked introduction of HIPs made her a laughing stock. They are still not working just like all the other half baked government interventionist rubbish. Tried buying a house recently? The agent's always claim the HIP is 'on the way'.

    Is it a surprise she has resigned? isn't the more pertinent question...does Gordon Brown have a problem with women in his cabinet?...his furious rebukes of Harmann and her kitchen cabinets during the summer...the feuding of Hazel Blears and the Blairites against Gordon, Jacqui and her amazing dancing Smiths being forced to defend 42 day detention against her will (see her performance on ANdrew Marr? - this was not her idea)

    The inner 'workings' of the Brown government appear to be dominated by a Praetorian guard of PR men who don't know what each other is saying or thinking and Gordon firing off e-mails an calling innocent members of the public at four in the morning asking them if they like him.

    Is it any wonder that she has walked out on this supreme dystopia?

  • Comment number 10.

    As someone who struggled as a single-parent to juggle work with the increasing needs of my children as they grew up, I can understand Ruth Kelly's decision for personal reasons alone. Remaining as an MP she is still going to have a juggling act to do.
    Whether she has "other" reasons, only she can know, although she has been noticeably "quiet" since GB took over as leader...
    As a taxi driver, I just wish we could now have a Transport Minister with both staying power and a commitment to overhaul the antiquated and mixed up laws relating to our trade - which do little for either passengers or those working in the industry - maybe then the police and others would begin to understand the law and enforce it!

  • Comment number 11.

    Nothing to do with the looming and potentially destructive row over speed cameras and other autocop devices being more expensive to run and less efficient than actually having real police on the road doing the job properly in the first place I'd wager.

    Another nail in the coffin of NuLabours techno dream of driving down public sector pay.

    So much money spent, so many people criminalised, no change in the number of people being killed each year ...yes, I think I'd be out of there a bit quick as well if I realised the excrement was about to hit the air extractor.

  • Comment number 12.

    I have never been happy about having supernaturalists in the government.

  • Comment number 13.

    "Spending more time with the family."
    What a weasily little phrase.

    Wasn't it Norman Fowler who first used it, and then promptly took on some lucrative directorships?

    They lie to gain office, they lie in office, and they cannot even leave office honestly.

    What vile people we have to lead us.

  • Comment number 14.

    #3. So one card just fell out of the wobbling house that Brown built.

    With luck more will follow, though it's hard to imagine Ruth Kelly having many "friends" who would follow her lead in any direction whatever.

  • Comment number 15.

    She will always be in our hearts. I think my favourite Ruth Kelly moment was when I saw her in Parliament. So passionate. So driven. So Ruth.
    I loved the way you could say her name in a Scottish accent, I loved the way she grew her hair and most of all I loved her faith.
    To give up ones career for your family (and nothing to do with the embryology bill or Gordon Brown) is admirable- she will always be the Transport Secretary of my heart.

    Goodbye, and close the door behind you.

  • Comment number 16.

    By the way, yes, Old Rocker she is leaving a high profile position in government due to speed cameras. That makes total sense.

  • Comment number 17.

    Given Labour constantly bang on about the gender pay gap - Ms Kelly resigning is rather ironic. If she returns to politics in 10 years time she can hardly expect to be in the same position financially as if she'd continued working

  • Comment number 18.

    Bye Ruth, you've bumbled your way through Treasury, Education, Communities and Transport.

    Ruth of all trades, Mistress of absolutely none.

    I wouldn't trust you to change a nappy!

  • Comment number 19.

    #13 brings up a good point - I seem to recall David Blunkett taking up a job with an ID card firm when he resigned the second time.

    Is it not time that MPs were banned from taking on other roles? Surely being an MP is a full-time job, whether you're in the cabinet or not. We're certainly paying them full-time wages. That's without even getting into the argument over possible/inevitable conflicts of interest - an MP should be dedicated to working for their electorate, not businesses.

  • Comment number 20.

    What mystery?

    You haven't said what the mystery is, Nick. The only mystery I can see is why you are looking for a story here.

  • Comment number 21.

    So Kelly resigns from her well paid position and no doubt benefits from a superb inflation-proof pension.
    Let us all remember that as the sidekick "fan" and Secretary to the Treasury when Brown was Chancellor, she joined him as a serial denier of guilt on Equitable Life. She refused - continually - to help those robbed of their basic pension due the Brown's FSA incompetence.
    ... and we are still awaiting Brown's answer to the Ombudsman's recommendation of malpractice and incompetence "in the Autumn".
    Kelly ought to have been sacked years ago. She didn't as she was compliant in all things bad with this unelected PM.

  • Comment number 22.

    I wonder how many other cabinet ministers will be deciding to, "spend more time with their family," in the next few weeks.

    Of course if they carry on under Brown they'll all be, "spending time with their families," come the election.

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm relieved that she is gone. All her focus was on Terminal 5 and getting another runway at Heathrow. No real consideration for the railways. Good timing though to lessen the impact of the EDF news (which should really be the main headline BBC honestly!). What isn't mentioned is that GBs brother works for EDF (I think in the PR bit?). So overall good for Family Brown but a dangerous precedent for the UK. Though admittedly it is what an open market is all about.

  • Comment number 24.

    Who cares.
    Why such a comment, well its quite simple. What he she done for me.
    Nothing but more wasted taxpayers money and more stealth taxes.
    Another government person leaving and will in the end get the golden handshake pension.
    Will I get the same protected pension.

  • Comment number 25.

    Best news is she got Gordon Brown off the front pages.. he can't even make a speech to his own party conference and get any airtime.

    Well done Ruth, someone who will stand up to the clunking bully.

  • Comment number 26.

    ramilas1 - to be fair, she was the one who had to pick up the pieces of the 'HIPs' fiasco after the mess had been caused by Yvette Cooper, so I think it only fair to apportion the blame for that where it belongs..

    A shame she is going as it will deprive Steve Bell of a rich seam of humour to be mined..

    Mind you, I said that when Charles Clarke stepped down, and he seems to keep resurfacing..

  • Comment number 27.

    Sets a useful precedent. I mean Brown has a young family, Cameron has a young family and, if you believe his claims, Clegg probably has quite a large young family.

    Now who is there in politics today who spots major events before they happen, speaks sense and doesn't have a young family?

    Got it - Vince Cable.

    Time for Cameron to go shopping for a big tent maybe?

  • Comment number 28.

    I would be delighted to see a religiouis extremist leaving active politics if it were not for the fact that there are far too many others wating in the wings who are all too keen to impose their religious views on all of us.

  • Comment number 29.

    #16, obviously not to you podlover98, but then I would think you'll be voting Labour again at the next opportunity.

    I guess it all depends on how you view wasting millions if not billions on a project that isn't fulfilling it's mission statement.

    But we'll leave that debate until it hits the headlines.

  • Comment number 30.

    The timing of her departure announcement is unhelpful for Gordon.

    When the current mood of relief and celebration among party members and trade unionists fades look out for more surprises.

    The problem for gordon is that he is in political no mans land - not a Blairite believer and not Labour left.

    He is, ironically, more like a banker or may be something that sounds like that!

  • Comment number 31.


    I think that this is about Harriet Harman and the government policy on abortion.

    I think we will find some others leaving the government in the reshuffle, I think you already know the names, I think I do to, but we mustn't breach any scoops must we. It will also be over abortion but that will not be said at the time. They can no longer go along with what is happening.

    I think that these politicians do have principles, but we mustn't let that get in the way of keeping Gordon as the PM. The right man for todays problems, a serious man.

    In the meantime I thought that it was interesting that David Millibland should have refrred to the Heseltine moment to one of the BBC reporters, although it has of course been denied.

    Why do I say that, well you did a blog, a good one on 'Lots of Work for Kremlinologists' I made various comments about Mr Millibland and I think that these were picked-up by his researchers. It was #76 1:14 on 15/9/08, and I quote it below:

    'I hear that the editors on the Radio 4 news at one have even picked up on this quotes business 'He who wields the knife never wears the crown'.

    Some of us were quoting Shakespeare and I think that more people read your blog than 'they' care to say.

  • Comment number 32.

    I remember mentioning Ruth Kelly to one of my idiot politicians from another party and he went off like a firecracker. That guy really, really hated her. He wouldn't admit it but it's cuz she was doing such a great job he couldn't get his nose in the door.

    Can you imagine what was going through his mind. On every policy issue, Ruth Kelly would have it nailed and it would be Ruth this, and Ruth that. He must've been screaming and waking up in cold sweats from his reaction. Heh.

    Dunno why she waent all Catholic over the embryo thing. Buddhism suggests the quality of conciousness is in everything to some degree or another. It's squares all the circles and is hyper relaxed about it. Hey, maybe she's converting to Zen? Nah, too easy.

  • Comment number 33.

    The real question is the timing.Gordon Brown is battling against those are determinedly leaking things to the media to steal his thunder,such as it is.
    No doubt the poor misguided fool was expecting his touchy-feely speech to be headline news this morning when it's been forgotten already because of the news about another poor misguided fool.Gordon,your speech was more Nigel Kennedy than John F Kennedy,Ruth,enjoy the free time you have with your kids in whatever career you pursue after the next General Election.

  • Comment number 34.

    Can I say "Good riddance to bad rubbish" without getting moderated?

  • Comment number 35.

    Most of your contributers appear to accept that the Prime Minister will be beaten at the next election. Perhaps its time to concentrate on the likely successor, the song and dance man, with links to the palace, and his right hand man, young George, the wallpaper man.
    They have had nothing to say about the hilarious activities of their friends in the City. Is it fair , therefore, to suggest that they are what they look, two Thatcherite inspired overgrown public schoolboys

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    The fact that Kelly has not resigned under an anti-Brown banner, and indeed ticked the legendary and near-comical 'more time with her family' box, makes this a piece of reshuffle news and an interesting one at that. No-one has had a memorable exit line yet; is Brown is stronger than many like to think?

  • Comment number 38.

    Off message I know, but quick note to thank you / webmasters for sorting out the template for your blog - it was getting annoying!

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    Did a late-night plotters meeting fall through after Brown kicked their collective backside yesterday? Was she left out to dry by fellow plotters and went home in a hissy fit? Surprised this hasn't appealed to your conspiracy instincts Nick.
    Either way I'll not miss her. Personally I'm tired of being lectured by upper-midddle-class women with too much education and not enough experince of the real world. She made it worse by letting her religious beliefs get in the way of her objectivity. Pity she couldn't take the dreadful Blears woman with her.
    Right Gordon - yesterday was a decent start to a long road back. Ditch the chattering Islington clique, stop overloading on Scotsmen (they may be good but their presence in cabinet is becoming disproportionate) and get some credible people on board. The nearest the present Conservative leadership will get to hard times and deprivation is a poor Dom Perignon vintage. This could be easier than you think.

  • Comment number 42.

    I'd be inclined to believe Kelly when she says she wants to spend more time with her family, IIRC she was heavily pregnant with her first child at the time of the 1997 election, I can remember being interviewed on Westminster live holding her young child. Actually Norman Fowler was right in his reasons for resigning, read his diaries and you'll see how he suddenly realised that his daughters had grown up without him seeing them, a political job is very hard on families. I'm sure though that Kelly is not happy with policies such as hybrid embryos and she will have seen the weekend's Politics Home megapoll which shows that her seat will go blue by a wide margin, it may be better to go now than end up on "The Portillo List!"

    There's also a rumour that Geoff Hoon is to be sent off to Brussels. That would be stupid as it would mean a by-election in Ashfield, scene of a famous Tory by-election win in 1977 and another seat which the megapoll tips to go Tory. Our Scottish friends will know very well the ongoing farce over the appointment of former FM Jack Mc'Connell as High Commissioner to Malawi as a consolation for losing his job. He is still MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw but he can't stand down as that seat will be easy meat for the SNP in a by-election. Not even Gordon Brown is stupid enough to get into the same difficulty twice, or is he??????

  • Comment number 43.

    Well, she'll make way for an aggressive road-pricing tsar no doubt.

  • Comment number 44.

    Isn't it quite possible that a parent with 4 yound children has just found the burden of botha high profile and time consuming job too much? Just because she's strongly dissagreed with policies does not mean that that is the reason for her to quit.

  • Comment number 45.

    Nick why do you keep making mountains out of molehills?

    Ruth Kelly, Bolton West MP, With a Majority of 5.09%. With a swing of 2.6% to the Tories She is toast anyway.

  • Comment number 46.

    Is she staying on as an MP?

    It would be nice to have another by-election at this time.

    C'mon kids: ask for mum to stay at home full time!

  • Comment number 47.

    Wow, who'd have thought it? A politician who wants to spend time with her family.

    The sad truth is that she's run out of excuses having been ineffectual or made a mess of everything she's touched.

    But at least she got one thing right when she said her 'family needs her more'.

    Perhaps after the next election, she could get a part time job doing HIPs before they are abolished.

  • Comment number 48.

    She was incompetant, The country wont miss her. She should never have made it out of teaching.

    And how annoying was her voice.

    And for those saying the timing was interesting, It was Gordon that announced it!
    What is he trying to cover up, there must be something even bigger than EDF out there, bigger than "family arent props, did you like my wife" stunt.

    Tiem to go Mulder and Scully the truth is out there!

  • Comment number 49.

    Here's a nice word for all you Brown haters.

    A useful word it is too ... "Visceral" ... please see below for dictionary definition.

    1. characterized by or proceeding from instinct rather than intellect: a visceral reaction.

    2. characterized by or dealing with coarse or base emotions; earthy; crude: a visceral literary style.

    What do you reckon? Recognise yourself?

    Have a think about it anyway. Don't worry about thanking me, or about coming back with admissions or denials ... the main thing is that you start to know yourselves a little bit better.

  • Comment number 50.

    You know when people like Ruth "Truth" Kelly abandon you.......

    Well, rats leaving a sinking ship springs to mind.

  • Comment number 51.

    No21 It may be of interest to you, however, I doubt it, that we do not elect Prime Ministers. The Head of State sends for the person most likely to command a majority in the House of Commons and asks him, or her to form a government. Looks like she got the right man.

  • Comment number 52.


    Ruth Kelly 'went all catholic' because that's what she is.

    And she has every right to be. Your comments have always stretched credibility but this one caps them all.

  • Comment number 53.

    According to our Dear Leader this morning on Radio 4's Toady programme to interprut the last ten years as a period of boom that has now been followed by bust, is to misunderstand the economic reality of the last ten years.


    I now believe that it not unreasonable to suggest that this country is now, officially, doomed!

  • Comment number 54.

    I'm not really surprised Kelly's going. She didn't galvanise any department, as far as I could tell. However, if she were leaving on a point of principle, she should tell us.

    I'm still trying to understand Brown's thinking.

    He's going to legislate to prevent child poverty?
    No doubt there will be a formula you can apply, but how can you legislate against poverty? You can't stop a parent taking whatever tax-credit-based payment is made and spending it on a 60inch plasma screen, instead of food or clothes. Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?
    ("Hello, hello, young person. You do realise it's against the law to be poor, don't you...")

    Children aged two will have free nursery places. Covering 30 locations in year one, 60 in year two.
    By the time a quarter of UK locations are covered, there will be no point in them attending, as Brown has failed to ensure power production, so the lights and heating will be off.

    He "did fix the roof while the sun was shining". Roof is part of infrastructure and something that endures beyond individual worker's employment. Brown referred to more policeman, nurses, etc. But they (like all employees) are a cost-of-doing-business NOT infrastructure. Or has there been a change in accounting rules?

    And he's going to create a global financial services regulatory framework? For goodness's sake, he's created enough of a mess with the attempts at a UK solution.

    I don't see how you build a fair society when you deliberately withdraw a 10p tax-rate for the poorest. Still can't believe they couldn't work out a simply way to retain that for the genuine low income people. That showed a real lack of imagination.

    There's a difference between having a "political vision" and hallucinating.

  • Comment number 55.


    did you ever think that maybe she "went all Catholic over the abortion thing" is because she is actually a Catholic?

    By the way, you keep referring to Gordon as a "team builder" and interested in "harmony" and "order". It might just be worth amending that slightly. Gordon is a team player only when its his team (witness his treatment of TB and other ministers prior to the ascension of your Blessed leader). The only harmony and order he's interested in is everyone saying what he tells them to, when he tells them to, or they're out.

    Not really characteristics that are regarded as admirable in my view.

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    A truly loathsome woman. Good riddance.

  • Comment number 58.

    No great loss

  • Comment number 59.

    sagamix @49 wrote:

    "Here's a nice word for all you Brown haters.
    A useful word it is too ... "Visceral"

    You are so right (again!). Brown and his loathsome crew make me sick to my stomach.

  • Comment number 60.

    It is my belief that young children should be looked after by a parent and not placed in childcare. However due to the cost of living this is no longer possible for many families who, even with both parents working full time, are still struggling to survive.
    Oh how lovely that she can afford to take time off to look after her children. Over paid and incompetant, just like the rest of the party.

  • Comment number 61.

    We dont want religious minorities running this country, they should have no role in producing or implementing legislation.

    If they're catholic or budist all well and good, but if they cant be rational and objective and instead follow a set of "rules" that are outmoded and based on fiction, then they have no right to be in a position of authority.

    That goes for the CofE as well, although thats really not a religious organsiation anymore.


  • Comment number 62.

    Smart Move Ruth.

    Remove yourself from a collapsing administration-return when your kids are grown up and you are still young enough and hope no-one will remember you.

    So long and thanks for the HIPS

  • Comment number 63.

    as is normal with labour "announcements" give it a couple of days and they unravel, the real problems arise, etc.

    why is the government spinning over a cabinet reshuffle?
    leaking details of the reshuffle before the tory conference, stage managed leaking by any chance?

    ruth kelly wanted to go in may did she?

    spending more time with the family etc etc etc.

    how long before it immerges that she would have gone in may but was offered a role in the house of lords to stay on and keep quiet?

  • Comment number 64.

    isn't it funny how ministers can leave and be reshuffled at the drop of a hat...yet we have to have 'a man of experience' at the helm

    people should watch more yes, minister - you think the country is run by these lunatics?

  • Comment number 65.

    Am I the only one who quite fancies her? Bit gutted to be honest.

    I don't think her leaving will cover anything up, not EDF or anything else for that matter. Anything worth distracting attention from will not lose out in the news cycle to Ruth Kelly is going.

  • Comment number 66.

    Nick I saw your interview with brown this morning he was back to his usual mr bean stuttering self.

    Next time you interview him ask him not to keep looking to the left or down every few seconds, that’s a sign of evasion and being uncomfortable.

    Especially noticeable when you asked him about Ruth Kelly .

  • Comment number 67.

    "Leaving for family reasons".

    That's always been a euphamism for being unhappy with government policy in the past, and despite Gordon's protestations on Breakfast this morning, I see no reason to think why that won't be the case here.

    She has children to look after. Well she surely does, but she had them when she held previous ministerial or cabinet positions and it didn't seem to pose a problem.

    Then the embryology bill comes along and then Ms Kelly - a member of Opus Dei and the former minister for women no less - suddenly decides she needs more time at home.

    She says that she "can't think of anyone better than Gordon Brown to lead the party". Not exactly a ringing endorsement; neither can we. That's not supportive, that's pointing out that he's just the best of a bad bunch.

    And as for the suggestion that this was leaked by Number 10 to overshadow the EDF purchase of our nuclear industry...

    I don't believe that this timing was of the government's choosing. It's during the Labour conference and completely overshadows Gordon's speech, the one thing he wants us all talking about.

    No... if anything the timing does Brown an awful lot of damage, because we're all wondering whose going to resign next.

  • Comment number 68.

    I like being Visceral. Its how I knew this lot would tax and spend until we were bankrupt.
    And what is more the tories visceral line "Vote Blair get Brown" has proven to be correct. It was a shame at the time that the voting public didnt get what a disaster that was going to be.
    Being visceral means we dont have to wait for hindsight to see a disaster looming.

  • Comment number 69.

    The timing just sounds like a spoiler to deflate the departure at a bad time for the PM.

    I think she is planning to manage revolt from the back-benches. Possibly be a campaign team member for an opponent - there is a need to increase the number of MP's prepared to vote against Brown.

    Whatever, it is quite remarkable just how inept Gordon has proven as a leader. I am not grinding an axe - he has truly crashed and burnt out badly.

    Maybe years in the treasury, derailing and undermining "colleagues" year-after-year was not the best way to build team cameraderie? Are all those nasty, late-night "briefings" coming back to haunt him and leave his political obituary a bit of an embarrassment?

  • Comment number 70.

    So Ruth Kelly has gone. It's a start. Only another 350 or so to go.

    You've got to wonder what kind of Machevellian stunt it was to announce this today. What else has been buried with this news.

    I guess the papers won't be filled with a disembowling of the fakery, disingenuity and mis-truths that characterised the Maximum Leaders 'State of the Union' address. So the faithful won't have their bubble pricked after the missionary-zeal of only talking to their fellow deluded, starry-eyed delegates.

    Now we get to look forward to next weeks policy announcements (perhaps he'll be curing cancer again next week), trips to Iraq/Afghanistan, cabinet reshuffles etc all designed to wipe Camerons speech off the front pages. No 'spin' from me guv.

    I think the Labour party activists must be suffering from the 'Stockholm Syndrome' to keep clapping the kind of vacuous clap-trap that Gordon Brown spouts. The rest of us see such abuse for what it is.

    I'm beginning to feel a bit sorry for these deluded Labour apparatchiks. It must be totally discombobulating to believe in a party that is allegedly there to promote fairness and help the poor and sick and then spends eleven years putting more people in poverty and more people on the disability/long term sick register.

    Only a couple of years though and you will be released from the mental cell you have all created for yourselves.

  • Comment number 71.

    “49. At 10:34am on 24 Sep 2008, sagamix wrote:
    Here's a nice word for all you Brown haters. A useful word it is too ... "Visceral" ... please see below for dictionary definition.

    1. characterized by or proceeding from instinct rather than intellect: a visceral reaction.
    2. characterized by or dealing with coarse or base emotions; earthy; crude: a visceral literary style.
    What do you reckon? Recognise yourself?
    Have a think about it anyway. Don't worry about thanking me, or about coming back with admissions or denials ... the main thing is that you start to know yourselves a little bit better.”

    Cheers for that Sagamix. The Nu-Lab defenders have been getting increasingly desperate over the last few years; this is another one for the collection.

    Question for you (increasingly few) Labourite defenders. When are you going to stop defending the indefensible?

    We are in the stands. It is Grand National day. The Labour horse (looking like a broken down old nag,) was particularly wobbly coming over the Canal Turn and keeled over on the approach to Beechers brook. The vet has pronounced it finished and is loading the humane killer into the shotgun.

    If we close our eyes and listen to you however, we would believe that Nu lab is a glorious stallion which not only finished the race already, but did a lap of honour too.

    Guys, you are in denial. Own up, face up and admit it. The horse is no longer a runner and the race is over.

  • Comment number 72.

    Guess she'll be getting a job in Tonys Faith Foundation then....

  • Comment number 73.

    This could be Ruthie actually getting the sack.

    She played her cards too early by wanting to go in May and she's surplus to requirements anyway

    It stops she and others plotting their mass resignation to force a leadership contest.

    Ole Gordy is more cunning than you think.

  • Comment number 74.

    Just had to come back on a previous posting from a recognisable source.

    "Daoism also suggests that more law, especially more complex law, gives rise to cheats, and turbulent times give rise to feudal lords. Less law and more calm, or a more nuanced and patient approach, is useful.

    Media comment suggests that Gordon Brown understands the big picture and fine detail, but the final delivery remains to be seen."

    No government in UK history has passed more laws and regulations than New Labour.

    Most of them they nod through, as they can't stop the flow from Brussels.

    Many are introduced locally, but not effectively followed up.

    If you could use your professed influence to
    reduce legislation from a flood to a trickle, there may be a chance for individuals and business to get on with life.

    GB may understand the big picture and fine detail. I'd bet that if you pulled out a page at random from the 10,000 plus and asked him to testify on oath that he'd read and understood it before it became law, it would take about ten seconds before he confessed ignorance.

    Try it on your local MP.

    The one new law I'd like to see would be along the lines of:

    "No MP shall vote for, or against, any law or regulation set before the House, until such MP has confirmed under oath that he or she has read and understands the consequences of the proposed legislation".

    That would slow 'em down. And make them realise that, whatever law is passed, which they never got around to reading, impacts their electorates.

  • Comment number 75.

    A resignation that quickly after Brown's 'best speech ever'? If even the Cabinet don't believe it, doesn't that tell us something?

    Which novice will be installed next then Gordon? Seems the experienced Labour ministers don't want a job afterall.

  • Comment number 76.

    Mystery? Doubt, certainly, about whether or not her going has real relevance to the survival of the Brown premiership before, during or after an early or full-term election. This does not say much for its importance. So Ruth Kelly has been a generally unliked figure who made little mark. A fair emblem of some elements of failure in the Blair_Brown era then.

  • Comment number 77.

    Cheers for that Sagamix. The Nu-Lab defenders have been getting increasingly desperate over the last few years; this is another one for the collection.

    Ignore them. Or pity them. But don't let your pity distract you from the key mission.

    The key mission is to expose this disengenuous government for the enemies of truth and reason that they self-evidently are.

    Now that the housing bubble has bust (no more boom and bust) the voters have finally been weened off the SOMA of cheap money and they're looking to see who led them all up the garden path. Shine the torch on Gordon Brown. He's the man who misled y'all. He's the man who squandered your future. He's the man who robbed you. He's the man who robbed your kids. He's the man who robbed your pensioner parents. He's the man who encouraged you to squander you future.

    Step forward Gordon Brown. The architect of the UK's largest financial catastrophe since at least the last Labour government.

    Don't be shy Gordon. Don't be hiding behind your missus' skirts.

    Let's get a real good long 18 month look at you before we tear you and your party to pieces.

  • Comment number 78.

    It seems quite possible that she was asked to go in order to weaken any possible rebellion in the future. GB probably feels that he can do this now from a position of comparative strength, because (a) the economic situation, paradoxically, strengthens his hand, and (b) he thinks that his speech was well received (which it was by the party, however much the rest of us loathed it).

    Be nice if she left Parliament altogether, so we'd have another bye-election, which Labour would lose.

  • Comment number 79.

    She was the best of a bad lot. Whilst I believe the finest job a woman can do is to raise her children herself at home, I find it ironic that in the 21st century, in a country which has mostly given up traditional morals and values, a career politican resigns her position. We don't see many male politicians giving up because they have young children at home.

  • Comment number 80.

    I'll try again to defeat the selective moderators, who happily allow CEH and others free rein with their choice of adjectives.

    My first offering was prohibited because it contained the words ......

    kidneys - slam - Gordon - door - Brown's
    - in - the

    .....have a good day all

  • Comment number 81.

    Discovered this little tit-bit in the 1997 manifesto by the way. No wonder details of Paddy Pantsdown were released so he could be publicly humiliated and discredited. They couldn't have him wandering around going on about betrayal when they reneged on this manifesto commitment. It certainly set the tone for the last 11 years didn't it.

    Discredit the messenger. Bury the facts.

    Mind you, with Labour looking to be receiving a collective P45 in perpetuity I fully expect them to suddenly rediscover their commitment to PR.

    Look at this for an unequivocal commitment. I don't recall any referendum.

    An effective House of Commons
    We believe the House of Commons is in need of modernisation ......

    We are committed to a referendum on the voting system for the House of Commons.

  • Comment number 82.

    I think this is a case of you desperately trying to read far too much into this.

    I am sure there are far more important things to report than have this as the headline on BBC news.

    You cant be THAT short of news, surely!

  • Comment number 83.

    #79 Phoenixarisen

    How old is Gordon Brown's child?
    Just a thought, oh stop it 'polero your wishful thinking is getting out of hand

  • Comment number 84.

    Along with her wedge of cash, did JK Rowling send El Gordo a book of Hairy Porter spells? Maybe she figured out that's the only way some of his recent proclamations are do-able

  • Comment number 85.

    I agree with some posters in that this is all a bit too convenient with the passing of our home grown electricity to the French at what will be seen to be a knockdown price. Helps deflect the political seers way from that.

    I also agree she will be toast at the next election so going now allows her time to find at least a couple of part time well paid jobs whilst labour are still in power.

    Can't see why anyone in the Private Sector would want to employ her though!

    No doubt a couple of good government quango type roles given out by some mates who she gave a helping hand up to in the past would suit just fine.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    One down, twenty-one (or thereabouts) to go (is that the Cabinet roll?). This is like watching a train crash in slo-mo.

  • Comment number 88.

    Looks like the group resignation plan fell apart then Nick.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    This story, like Milliband's comment 'overheard in a lift', seems to have been "sexed-up" a bit.

    Surely not a thing the BBC should be doing?

  • Comment number 91.

    Good, that's one less minister making policy in support of our risk averse, 'think of the children', society.

  • Comment number 92.

    There's no mystery here. This is the first Brownite scalp in a bid to remove the more blatant Blairite plotters.
    Others will follow or be booted out in Brown's long awaited cabinet reshuffle.
    Kelly knew the game was up so jumped ship, as I point out here:

  • Comment number 93.

    Why didn't she just stick the younger kids in the "free nurseries" and leave the older ones to surf the net, I'm sure she could wangle a couple of free laptops even on her salary!

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    At least she tried to grow her hair a bit, as opposed to Harman, Smith, Jowell prison governor look! Now only Caroline Flint remains but for how long?

  • Comment number 96.


    Don't quite understand your reasoning...
    -Downing Street are already denying suggestions that they released the news in order to reduce its impact. -

    If she had just gone during next week's re-shuffle, no-one would have thought twice about it, amongst the other changes.

    Something else must have happened here. Kelly must have decided she wanted to go now, over something not yet made public which would look bad for Brown (whether policy or the performance of GB himself). They have obviously then come out with the old 'leaving to spend more time with the family' excuse to make it look as good as possible.

    Question for you Nick: is it possible to say yet how extensive you are expecting the re-arranging of the deckchairs will be next week?

  • Comment number 97.

    If her resignation was genuinely unconnected with the leadership question, and wasn't a deliberate attempt to take the wind out of Brown's sails, was the timing forced, misjudged, and/or designed to bury bad news in the post-speech bounce? Either way, it has to be the hardest resignation to analyse since David Davis.

  • Comment number 98.

    If anyone thinks that Ruth Kelly and her timing of this did not do it deliberately in order to create embarrasment for Gordon Brown and put him on the back foot again, then they don't believe that the Pope is a Catholic!

  • Comment number 99.

    I am less inclined to see this as a sign of a group resignation gone wrong that simply appallingly bad timing for Brown...but what's new about that for Mr Hapless?

    There are two ways of interpreting it:

    1. She's left so as to avoid the imputation that, on leaving with the reshuffle, she was a less than capable minister. (She may want to return to the front bench at some point)

    2. She's left now to wound Brown.

    Of those two, I believe 1 more than 2. If she wanted to wound Brown, she'd have left in June, no questions asked, and kept very quiet about her reasons why.

    The rumours about others leaving are just that - rumours set off to get people in the Press like you, Nick, talking. Glenthrothes is not far away: after that, and assuming the result is as dire as predicted, the resignations will come, one by one.

    My bet is that Mr Miliband will not be among them - or even a reluctant last departure.

    I have never been inclined to regard anything the estwhile Mr Finkelstein says in the Times as sensible, but in his piece today he gets to the nub of the issue. People have fallen out of sympathy with exactly what New Labour is all about - not bits of it, all of it. Brown needs a new Cabinet to articulate a single new vision - and a rather better one than the one he produced yesterday...

  • Comment number 100.

    93. petefergie
    Why didn't she just stick the younger kids in the "free nurseries" and leave the older ones to surf the net, I'm sure she could wangle a couple of free laptops even on her salary!

    Now that Gordon Brown is hanging onto his wife's shirt tails - sorry skirt - I expect he will make use of those nurseries and free laptops!


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