Has her timing been designed to deliberately damage the PM?
Less than fourteen hours after Gordon sat down at the end of his big conference speech in Manchester there’s a report this morning from Sky News that Ruth Kelly, the former Education secretary and now Transport minister, is to quit.
Only two days ago we carried a story here about an Independent survey where Kelly was named as only one of four cabinet ministers not prepared to answer the question â€œIs Gordon Brown the right person to lead Labour into the next General Election?”
At the time I speculated whether Kelly and the two other refusenik women ministers, Hazel Blears and Jacqui Smith, might form an assassination squad.
Whatever, assuming the Sky News report is accurate, Kelly’s move could not have come at a worse time for Number 10 even if her going is for the stated reason of “wanting to spend more time with her family”.
Kelly is a former national newspaper journalist and will be intimately aware of the dynamics of news timing. I find it hard to believe that this was not deliberate.