So, in the middle of a pre-scheduled post on the Shadow Cabinet and why Yvette Cooper or Ed Balls might not get to be Shadow Chancellor despite the bookies odds, the Shadow Cabinet was actually announced.
And it turns out the Chancellor’s job went to Alan Johnson, which came a little out of the blue for a lot of commentators.
Team Miliband now looks like this:
|Leader of the Opposition||Rt. Hon. Ed Miliband MP|
|Deputy Leader and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development||Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP|
|Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer||Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Minister for Women and Equalities||Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department||Rt Hon Ed Balls MP|
|Chief Whip||Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Election Coordinator||Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP|
|Shadow Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice (with responsibility for political and constitutional reform)||Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions||Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills||Rt Hon John Denham MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Health||Rt Hon John Healey MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government||Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Defence||Rt Hon Jim Murphy|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change||Meg Hillier MP|
|Shadow Leader of the House of Commons||Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Transport||Maria Eagle MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs||Mary Creagh MP|
|Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury||Angela Eagle MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland||Rt Hon Shaun Woodward MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland||Ann McKechin MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Wales||Rt Hon Peter Hain MP|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport||Ivan Lewis MP|
|Shadow Leader of the House of Lords||Baroness Royall of Blaisdon|
|Shadow Minister for the Olympics||Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP|
|Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office||Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP|
|Lords Chief Whip||Lord Bassam of Brighton|
|Shadow Attorney-General||Baroness Scotland|
|Also attending Shadow Cabinet meetings|
|Shadow Minister of State – Cabinet Office||Jon Trickett MP|
The fact that neither Balls nor Cooper got the treasury role doesn’t surprise me too much. As I said before, Miliband had to move to avoid a Balls/Cooper powerbase to stop a repeat of the Blair-Brown problems. Balls as Chancellor would have created a rift and infighting between him and anyone who didn’t agree with his rather fixed economic positions.
Also, given that Ed Miliband was accused of lurching to the left by the media, it’s hardly surprising that he gives prominent roles to MPs from the right-wing of the Labour Party.
We can’t afford to have our economic policy dictated to us by one person as we have in the past. Miliband seems to have learned the lessons of our recent past and will look to create an economic policy that the shadow cabinet can all support.
The new leader has also made a very smart move in teaming Johnson with Angela Eagle who seems very switched on and will do very well in her role shadowing Danny Alexander at Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
The other thing I note is just how fast some election losers have recovered. John Trickett, Peter Hain and Shaun Woodward all failed to get one of the nineteen spots in the poll but still got seats in the cabinet.
Interesting times await as Parliament returns and the spending review gets going.