I should like to make it clear that I too would turn down a position in Gordon Brown's government. Just in case he was about to ask... The way he's going, it's only a matter of time!
If I were a Labour MP I would view this courting of known political opponents with complete horror. The only message it sends out is that he has a very low opinion of most of his colleagues in the House of Commons. Lord Stevens doesn't have a socialist bone in his body so I am not surprised he too has rebuffed Brown. But the news tonight that Lord Goldsmith will be standing down next week (he was unlikely to survive anyway) opens up yet another place round the Cabinet table. Let's look at how many new people are likely to join the Cabinet table next Thursday.
Home Secretary: John Reid - Going
Foreign Secretary: Margaret Beckett - Possibly going
DEFRA: David Miliband - Promotion
Attorney General - Lord Goldsmith - Going
Justice - Lord Falconer - Almost certainly going
Health - Patricia Hewitt - Almost certainly going
Education - Alan Johnson - Staying put
Trade - Alistair Darling - Promotion
Chief Secretary - Stephen Timms - Promotion
Communities - Ruth Kelly - Unclear
DFID - Hilary Benn - Promotion
Leader of the House - Jack Straw - Promotion
Labour Party Chairman - Hazel Blears - Move
Duchy of Lancaster - Hilary Armstrong - Going
Leader of the Lords - Baroness Amost - Probably Going
Work & Pensions - John Hutton - Unclear
Defence - Des Browne - Probably Going
Chief Whip - Jacqui Smith - Promotion
Wales & N Ireland - Peter Hain - Looks to be at risk
DCMS - TessaJowell
Transport - Douglas Alexander - Promotion
The clear message here is that there will be very few people staying put in their current jobs, which may ironically save Ruth Kelly and Des Browne. Altogether there are likely to be at least eight new members of the Cabinet. Tomorrow I will be looking at the likely runners and riders.