When the Cabinet debated Harriet Harman’s proposal to ban MPs from having second jobs, several Ministers were unhappy about. They argued that while it would cause problems for the Tories in the short term, the shoe would be on the other foot soon enough. One suspects that Milburn won’t be the last to leave for this reason.
In terms of the internal politics of the Labour party, I suspect that Milburn’s departure means little. In terms of frontline politics, the torch has passed to a new generation of Blairites—albeit a less talented one. Milburn’s main influence was philosophical and I’d be shocked if he didn’t carry on writing op-eds and pamphlets promoting his vision.
Do watch, though, to see who picks up his safe seat. That will be another indication of where Labour is heading.