Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has announced that she has decided to be kicked out of the cabinet at the next reshuffle, expected soon after the conference season is over.
Heavily over promoted by Tony Blair, the controversial Catholic made headlines when she was appointed Education Secretary at the age of 36 in 2004. At the DfES she soon alienated unions, teachers and civil servants alike with her inability to understand the issues facing the department, and was demoted to take over the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2006. There she succeeded in pissing off a whole new group of stakeholders, including local authorities, regional development agencies and anyone who heard her speak.
She was moved to an even lower profile job as Transport Secretary when Gordon Brown became PM in 2007, underlining the new Prime Minister's complete lack of confidence in her.
Her Catholicism has often been an issue of concern when the government has been pushing 21st century social and ethical reforms through parliament, as Ms Kelly favours the outdated and dogmatic values of Opus Dei to deal with the modern world. These include the public beating of homosexuals, stoning of adulterers and an expansion of back street abortions by limiting access to reproductive health services and contraception advice.
Along with the collapse of her government career, Ms Kelly has privately admitted the game is up in her constituency. She won her Bolton West seat comfortably in the Labour landslide of 1997, but at every subsequent election her majority has fallen as the electorate have had the misfortune of meeting her and listening to her patronising nasal drone. In 2005 she won a majority of just over 2,000 votes and the Tories are odds on to take the seat at the next general election.
Ms Kelly has insisted that her decision to jump before she was pushed is in order to spend more time with her army of children while they are still young. The children are now understood to be lobbying their father for places at local boarding schools.