Purnell: I won't be back

Purnell: "I've never said that he can't win an election"
Purnell: "I've never said that he can't win an election"

By politics.co.uk staff

James Purnell has no intentions of returning to the frontline of politics, he confirmed today.

In an interview on LabourList, the former pensions secretary suggested he would not be taking a major role in British politics, no matter what happens in the general election.

"I'm proud of what I did in government, both as an adviser for four years and as a minister for four years. But I'm not looking to come back into a frontline role... I'm happy where I am now," the Stalybridge and Hyde MP confirmed.


"People have behaved extremely well vis a vis me since my resignation."

He also appeared to water down his objections to Gordon Brown's leadership, which led to his departure from government last year.

At the time, he wrote to Gordon Brown: "I am calling on you to stand aside to give our party a fighting chance of winning."

But in today's interview he adopted a more moderate tone.

"I've never said that he can't win an election, and indeed I strongly believe this is an election we should win," he concludes.

"We've got a really good claim to re-election based on what Gordon and Alistair did on the economy - I think they will be seen to have prevented recession turning into depression."

The committed Blairite also expressed some regrets about New Labour's past.

"New Labour should have been clearer that we cared about inequality, but we should also have been clearer about which inequalities we care about," he said.

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