With McBride gone, it’s worth referring to a passage from Philip Collins’ article for the Times yesterday. Speaking about high profile resignations, he makes this point about those who leave government:
“The incidents that fade from the memory quickest are the alleged scandals: David Blunkett (twice), Peter Mandelson (twice), Beverley Hughes, Peter Hain. To this number we might yet have to add Tony McNulty but probably not Ms Smith. Why the distinction? Because Ms Smith is more damaging to lose.
We can see that there is neither rhyme nor reason to this list because ministers are allowed to come back. What sort of misdemeanour is sufficiently bad to require resignation but not so bad that it does not prevent your return to government a few months later? The answer is if the person in question is valuable.”
Now, as Fraser noted earlier, McBride is incredibly valuable to Brown – so might his misdemeanours be conveniently forgotten over the next few months? Well, I’m told that Labour intends to convert (former) advisers into full-blown party workers come September/October, for the final push ahead of the election. That could be when to look closely at McBride’s job description…