James Purnell has been announced as the new Chair of ippr. This comes as something of a surprise, as recent speculation has suggested that David Miliband was poised to make Purnell his chief of staff should he become Labour leader. Purnell could seek to balance those two roles, although this now seems unlikely.
The former MP and Secretary of State takes over from John Makinson who has been chair of ippr since 2007.
James will assume the role of Chair at the beginning of September.
Speaking this afternoon, Purnell said:
“I am thrilled to be taking on the role of chair at ippr, an organisation I know well and once worked for. ippr has always been at the heart of the debate about progressive politics in Britain, and has a vital role to play in the new political landscape.
“This is a critical time in our politics. Following election defeat, Labour is choosing a new leader and starting the process of coming up with new policies. ippr will be central to the debates about how the centre left rebuilds and becomes a stronger force for change. At the same time, the new coalition government has made much of its commitment to progressive ideas. ippr has good relations with the new administration and we will be working just as hard to influence policy in this government as the last.”