Ruth Kelly has resigned from the British Government to spend more time with her family.
She is not the first politician who gives this reason for resigning, and she surely won't be the last. On the radio this morning, the Prime Minister (himself a father of two small children) explained how difficult she had found it to balance work and home-life. Previously the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, had expressed admiration at her ability to juggle politics and real life. "She must be identical twins." he joked. [Ruth Kelly Profile, BBC News 24 September 2008]
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the resignation is the timing. Ms Kelly is rumoured to have had discussions with disaffected plotters, with an eye to a synchronized resignation in protest at Gordon Brown's leadership [Nick Robinson: Life Change for Kelly]. But the day after Gordon's big speech, she resigns early and alone, with no sign of fellow plotters, and with warm words from Gordon himself. [Kelly Bids a Fond Farewell, BBC News 24 September 2008] By resigning now, she is no longer available to take part in a resignation plot. In the perverse world of politics, that pretty much counts as an endorsement of Gordon's leadership then.
(See my posts on the Business Organization Management blog for more on decision-making and timing.)