I am surprised and disappointed that James Purnell has chosen to resign as a MP. His departure is a blow to the Labour Party. He was one of the few senior figures who understood the Tories and thought about ways we could move on from the New Labour era.
In recent months, he had come up with some interesting ideas about regulating the City and grassroots politics that Labour would do well to listen to. His closeness to Jon Cruddas also suggested that the two might even be a formidable partnership after the next election. The Party can scarcely afford to lose people like this.
But it was his courage in resigning from the Cabinet last June which marked him out. He displayed a backbone that his other colleagues lacked. Not for nothing did people talk about him as a future leader.
It is not hard to believe that he is just fed up with politics - disillusioned with the Party and the system in the same way that many voters are. He is approaching 40. He may have calculated that the election is lost and he doesn't want to spend the best years of his life as an opposition MP.
Either way it is another ominous sign for the Labour Party that its best and its brightest are quitting. As Steve Richards says in today's Independent "Youngish MPs do not leave Parliament when sunny days of stimulating power appear to stretch ahead".