Just remember you heard it here first.
There is allegedly shock at James Purnell’s decision to stand down from Parliament. Actually, it is rather predictable. If he had stayed on as a candidate, he would have been re-elected. But what then? A victoriously re-elected Gordon Brown is unlikely to have him back in the Cabinet. And in the (unlikely) event of a Tory victory, he would not want to waste his conspicuous (to him, at least) talents in Opposition.
He knows that Mayor Boris Johnson has only a limited desire to run for a second term as Mayor and – in any event – Londoners are becoming increasingly dubious about what he is doing (or not doing) for their City.
James Purnell is nothing if not ambitious. He can claim to be a Londoner. He was an Islington councillor for nearly two years. What more qualification would he need?
And my spies tell me that his intentions are clear – he wants to be Labour’s candidate for London Mayor in 2012.
So once more, remember you heard it here first.