Purnell's instincts towards social security were precisely those of Norman Tebbit, only mingled with less compassion. He attempted in effect to reintroduce the Victorian distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor, opposition to which was one of the founding motives of the Labour Party. Like Blair, he had no left wing beliefs, but saw the takeover of a moribund Labour Party as a simple career opportunity.
I remember him being quoted in the FT a while ago saying, as far as the DWP was concerned 'everything is up for sale' in terms of private companies running whole parts of the state. There'll always be a place for him at the IMF.