Purnell takes over from Hain at DWP

James Purnell has taken the role of secretary of state for work and pensions following the resignation of Peter Hain.

Hain resigned from the post after his Labour leadership campaign donations were referred to the police by the Electoral Commission.

Purnell returns to the department after a six month stint as culture secretary since Gordon Brown became prime minister last June.

Before then he was pensions minister. He was noted in the industry for entering into a long term blog with Steve Bee, head of pensions strategy at Scottish Life over the effect of means testing on auto-enrolled savings. He is a strong supporter of Personal Accounts.

Hain has had a long and varied career in politics. Born in Kenya and brought up in South Africa, his parents were anti-apartheid activists who were jailed by the government and prevented from working. He became a prominent anti-apartheid activist, chairing the Stop the Tour campaign that disrupted tours by the South African rugby and cricket teams in 1969 and 1970.

Bee says: “Maybe Purnell will be prepared to reopen our battle of the blogs. At least he knows the subject matter, even if he doesn’t understand the issues.”