Hain quits Cabinet

by Stephen Tall on January 24, 2008

That’s the big news this Thursday lunchtime:

Peter Hain has quit the Cabinet after his deputy leader campaign donations were referred to the Met Police. Mr Hain, work and pensions secretary and Wales secretary, said he had stood down so he could “clear my name”.

He quit within minutes of the Electoral Commission saying that it had decided to refer the late declaration of £103,000 of donations to the police.

Peter Hain’s Lib Dem shadow, Danny Alexander, has responded quickly to the news, commenting:

“The transition from Blair to Brown feels increasingly like the transition from Thatcher to Major. We have had the return of government incompetence, economic turmoil and political sleaze.

“We all remember John Major clinging on to ministerial colleagues, only to lose them in the end, and now Gordon Brown is doing the same.

“His colleagues are being caught out by allegations of self-interest and complacency. The difference is that it took Major almost two years to lose his first cabinet colleague. Gordon Brown has lost Peter Hain after just six months.”