A few months after Ed Miliband was elected Labour leader I met with one of his supporters in the shadow cabinet. Who, I asked, were 'Ed’s People?' He began reeling off a list of names. 'Chuka Umunna, Peter Hain, John…' 'Chuka?' I said. 'But he’s walking round the Commons with a giant target on his back. They’re out to get him.' He was, even then, the bookies’ favourite – which, in politics, normally means that you are a dead man walking. The shadow minister smiled. 'Well, they haven’t got him yet.'
Well, now they have. Umunna has finally been cut down, withdrawing from Labour’s leadership race just three days after entering. There was no proper reason, and no proper scandal. He was the victim of an elegant, silent old-fashioned Westminster character assassination.