James Forsyth

Two days, two major resignations

Two days, two major resignations
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Of the two resignations of the past 24 hours, it is Alan Johnson’s that will change the contours of politics. The appointment of Ed Balls makes the dividing line on the economy far starker. But the Coulson resignation is still a highly significant moment.

Those Tories who worked with Coulson are downcast today and will brook no discussion of what the whole episode says about Cameron’s judgment. But there’s little doubt that the PM has been harmed by this episode. Not in any limb-threatening way but harmed nevertheless.

Cameron also needs a find to way to organise his operation to both ensure that there is someone at the table who understands the instincts and aspirations of C1 voters, can firefight stories and fulfill the strategic communication role. As Tim Montgomerie notes,  there was a sense that ‘Coulson was always much more Cameron's incredibly hardworking personal press secretary than a strategic director of communications.’

There’ll be all sorts of names bandied about over the next few days. But one thing that Number 10 should think about is splitting up Coulson’s old role and take this opportunity to expand the Downing Street operation.