Peter Hoskin

Purnell sets up a summer of trouble for Gordon

Purnell sets up a summer of trouble for Gordon
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So James Purnell has resurfaced after his resignation from the Cabinet last month, and he's done so with some aplomb.  He's interviewed in tomorrow's Guardian, but the paper are running a preview article on their website.  Among other things, the former work and pensions secretary attacks Labour for being backwards-looking and announces the starts of a new three-year project looking into the future of the party.  Here are some snippets:

"In his first major interview since he quit as work and pensions secretary last month, Purnell likens that period in politics to the dynamism and excitement of the music scene generated around Oasis and Blur. 'All those Blairite, New Labour labels … for me it's a bit like Britpop – I feel nostalgic for it, it was absolutely right for its time, but that time was 1994.'


On Monday, Purnell will launch a three-year project at the thinktank Demos on the future of the Labour party, called Open Left. It will include contributions from the respected leftwing backbenchers Jon Cruddas and Alan Simpson.

Rasing doubts about the government track record over 12 years on schools, immigration policy and electoral reform, Purnell says he wants to 'try and be as radical on the left as on the right'."

All of which sounds like a useful platform from which Purnell can can launch a future Labour leadership bid - but that won't be the thing worrying Brown as he reads through tomorrow's interview.  No, the main problem for the Dear Leader is the timing of this.  With the summer recess starting, Purnell's intervention - like Miliband's last year - threatens to make internal Labour unrest the main political story for the next few weeks.  We'll have more on Coffee House once the full interview is published tomorrow.