Ruth Kelly to quit Cabinet role 'for family reasons'
Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly, has announced that she intends to leave Gordon Brown’s Cabinet at the next reshuffle.
As rumours swirl that Mrs Kelly’s motivation for the decision was a growing disenchantment with the Prime Minister’s leadership, she was quick to insist otherwise, saying that she simply wishes to spend more time with her children, saying: ‘I owe it to my family to start putting them first.’
As Gordon Brown attempted to rally his troops at Labour’s party conference yesterday, he called Mrs Kelly ‘a very talented and brilliant individual’, adding that as a father he understood the difficulty she faces in balancing a political career with family life.
The London Evening Standard reported sources close to Mrs Kelly saying that she had appeared angry when leaving the conference hall after the Prime Minister’s address to the party faithful yesterday. It is also thought that Mrs Kelly, a devout Catholic and mother-of-four, felt unable to support the Government’s plans to liberalise rules on stem cell research.
In an emotional speech to the conference, Mrs Kelly departed from her set text to explain her reasons for stepping down from front-line politics.
Confirming that she had told the Prime Minister of her decision to leave earlier in the year, the Transport Secretary told delegates: ‘This will be my last time addressing you as a member of Cabinet. This was not a decision I took lightly.
‘I was still in my 20s as Labour was given the honour of leading the country – all my children were born under a Labour Government. The past 15 years have been amazing, an at times humbling experience.’
She listed her greatest triumphs as the introduction of child trust funds while a Treasury minister, expanding choice in schools during her first Cabinet post as Education Secretary, addressing violent extremism while Communities Secretary, and seeing the approval of the Crossrail railway project while at Transport.
Ms Kelly went on: ‘But Conference, as well as a front-line politician, I am also proud to be a mother and a wife, and I have been able to hold these jobs because I have relied on the support of my husband and my family.
‘I now owe it to my children and family to take a step back and start to put them first. If I do not, I know it is something I will start to regret deeply.’