Fraser Nelson Fraser Nelson

Who would replace Smith?

Given that Jacqui Smith is almost certainly toast, who will replace her? I’m dismayed to hear James Purnell’s name mentioned – dismayed because we need him doing welfare reform, and because the Home Office is the graveyard of political ambition. I’d quite like Purnell around long enough to be Opposition leader, keeping Cameron on his toes. But Brown’s strategy is to identify and destroy his most likely successor – and for this reason, Brown may send Purnell to the Home Office. Ladbrokes is now taking bets on who the Home Secretary will be by Christmas. Here are the odds (note, Osborne is deemed more likely to be Home Secretary than the underrated Jim Murphy):

James Purnell — 8/1 Chris Grayling — 10/1         Alan Johnson — 14/1         Ed Miliband — 14/1        David Blunkett — 16/1        David Miliband — 20/1         Hazel Blears — 20/1         John Denham — 20/1        Ed Balls — 25/1         Harriet Harman — 25/1         Jack Straw — 25/1         Andy Burnham — 33/1        Caroline Flint — 33/1         George Osborne — 33/1         Jim Murphy — 33/1         

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