Ed Miliband promotes fresh faces to Labour top team


Miliband: ''I think that's the right combination of youth and experience''

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Labour leader Ed Miliband has promoted several MPs elected only last year to his shadow cabinet as part of a wide-ranging reshuffle.

Rachel Reeves, Liz Kendall and Chuka Umunna will join the team, less than 18 months after entering Parliament.

Several Labour big hitters, including Harriet Harman and Andy Burnham, move to new briefs, while other former ministers leave altogether.

Mr Miliband said the appointments were "a changing of the guard" for Labour.

Labour recently voted to scrap shadow cabinet elections, giving Mr Miliband a free hand over appointments.

Prior to a vote at last week's party conference, Labour's front bench in opposition was elected every two years, but Mr Miliband is now able to choose the members himself.

Several big hitters who had been tipped to return to the front bench, including the former lord chancellor Lord Falconer and former home secretary Alan Johnson, do not appear in the new line-up.

But senior figures, including Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper and Douglas Alexander, retain their existing positions. Eleven of the new shadow cabinet are women.

Three former ministers, John Denham, John Healey and Shaun Woodward, will return to the backbenches in the shake-up.

'Portillo moment'

Among the class of 2010, Ms Reeves will become shadow chief secretary to the Treasury and Ms Kendall is named shadow minister for care and older people.


By Political Correspondent Mike Sergeant

With an election not expected until 2015, Ed Miliband has taken the opportunity to promote some he believes are talented but unproven.

His hope will be that the likes of Chuka Umunna and Rachel Reeves can grow into their roles and become seasoned operators over the next four years.

With so many relatively unknown faces moving up and across, though, the Labour leader has tried to ensure continuity at the top.

The shadow cabinet's biggest names - Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper and Douglas Alexander - are staying put.

The impression Labour wants to give is of a fresh and balanced team - with 11 women and six who came into the Commons in 2010.

But interesting too is the fact that, with the appointment of Tom Watson and Michael Dugher, Labour seems to be trying to beef up its political attack operation and land more blows on the coalition.

Other new MPs Mr Umunna and Margaret Curran will take on the business and Scotland briefs respectively. Michael Dugher, a former adviser to Gordon Brown, will become shadow minister without portfolio.

Tom Watson, another close ally of Mr Brown who has become a high-profile campaigner against phone hacking, has taken on a new role as deputy chair of the Labour Party.

Ms Harman will take on the culture brief, swapping her previous responsibility for international development with Ivan Lewis.

Mr Burnham will swap education for health - the department he ran as a Labour minister in the previous government.

He is succeeded at education by Stephen Twigg, most widely known for defeating Michael Portillo during the 1997 Labour landslide election victory. Having lost his seat in 2005, Mr Twigg returned to Parliament in 2010.

Baroness Scotland has quit as shadow attorney general, saying it was "time for something new". She will be replaced by former health spokeswoman Emily Thornberry.

Meg Hillier and Ann McKechin are two others leaving the front bench team altogether.

'New talent'

Mr Miliband said: "It is a changing of the guard for Labour. I think it's important to bring on that new talent and I think it's the way we can be a Labour Party which properly focuses on the future which is what we need to do.


  • IN: Rachel Reeves; Chuka Umunna; Michael Dugher; Stephen Twigg; Tom Watson; Margaret Curran; Liz Kendall; Vernon Coaker; Emily Thornberry; Lord Stewart Wood
  • OUT: John Healey; John Denham; Baroness Scotland; Shaun Woodward; Meg Hillier; Ann McKechin
  • MOVED: Angela Eagle; Ivan Lewis; Harriet Harman; Andy Burnham; Hilary Benn; Caroline Flint

"It's a party that is moving on. It's not the party that was in government just a couple of years ago, it's a party that's moving forward."

On the relative youth and inexperience of some of his choices, Mr Miliband said: "These are young people, but I hold to the view that if you're good enough, you're old enough.

"We've got people who've had experience in other walks of life and have already shone in Parliament."

He said the newer MPs would bring "fresh ideas and fresh thinking", but would be working closely with other more experienced figures.


The Conservatives, however, accused Mr Miliband of promoting "Gordon Brown's cronies, the very people who got us into this mess in the first place".

Chuka Umunna, Rachel Reeves and Stephen Twigg Chuka Umunna, Rachel Reeves and Stephen Twigg all get key posts

Rumours that a reshuffle was imminent have been swirling since party members at Labour's conference in Liverpool voted to back Mr Miliband's call to scrap shadow cabinet elections.

A previous attempt to scrap the elections last year, before Mr Miliband was elected leader, was rejected by Labour MPs. But he chose to pursue the issue once he became leader.

He had argued that the electoral system led to candidates "campaigning against colleagues" for months, which was a "huge distraction".

The Labour leader and deputy leader are elected separately by MPs, party members and members of affiliated trade unions and socialist societies.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 285.


    Wow what a claim! Should we not see if the guy is up for the job before making a rash judgement based on his employment? He may not be experienced but neither are some of our politicians in government right now *Cough* Osbourne *Cough* but I heard that was a good thing. No pre-conceptions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    Well at least he's not part of the greedy Tory party!

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    How can Labour put a junior employment lawyer with a couple of years of legal experience, not even as a partner, in as shadow business secretary??? Absolutely no relevent experience or understanding - this is a 'politically correct' appointment of yet another sound bite politician.

    And they wonder why they have so little credibility.

  • rate this

    Comment number 282.

    Another fresh batch of "career politicians"......

    Just what the country needs!

    I despair!

  • rate this

    Comment number 281.

    Yes.... L I E B O U R....

    The one person who had the majority of support of the whole country...

    TONY BLIAR....

    Had the country at his feet and the mandate to enable UK to ACHIEVE MAGNIFICENT THINGS.

    And what did he do?
    WAR and DEBT in the guise that things can only get better.

    Seconded by Mr Brown who
    reduced Banking Financial regulation, Raided Pension Pots, squandered UK's Gold Bullion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    Anyone else noticed how the voting for most popular comments works? Or how you can twist an original comment? So much for the BBC being "pro Labour".

    Seems that opposition to Labour spin doctors has been adopted by Tories as a good idea by the minions.

    Let's have some real opinions instead of political nonsense for a change. This isn't the Daily Mail.

  • rate this

    Comment number 279.


    Well, that's one way of looking at it... Through the glasses of ideology. Governance in itself does not look after the interests of the dominant classes. That is the people who govern which do that. As usual people are to blame not the system itself. Socialism itself requires a government anyway, one that is by the proletariat so how would that work with your theory?

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    @21 (Baz Rutter) Chuka Umanna is of Nigerian and Irish/English parentage, he is therefore no more black than he is white, and why it would matter anyway?

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    Miliband can shift the deck chairs as much as he likes, but the ship is holed below the waterline. Labour no longer really stands for anything or anybody. It treats the working classes with the contempt it learned from the Murdoch press. It won't be seen to support workers who are fighting for justice. Just exactly what is the Labour Party for? What would be the point of voting for it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    The purpose of government is to maintain law and order in the interests of the dominant class. It is in fact an instrument of class oppression.Capitalism has developed technology and social productivity to the point where plenty for all can be produced. A society of abundance has long been technically possible &it is this that is the material
    basis for socialism. Stuff left/right/centre politics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    30th November will give everyone a good idea as to what this bunch of Labour MPs stand for.

    Will they come out for or against the strikes? Sitting on the fence as they are now is definitely not an option and is a sure sign of weakness.

    Crunch time awaits Mr Miliband. Choose wisely, your future will depend on it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    Every so often when cultivating Venus Fly Traps you need to 'flush the media (soil)' to prevent the build up of harmful salts/minnerals from killing it, just moving the media (soil) around is not enough... Anyone catching on to the allegory?

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    This is a typical attempt to break from the past , bring in new fresh ideas but unfortunately Milliband and Balls were at the heart of the last government and supported Brown even when there was serious questions about his leadership and were also at the heart of some of the worst decisions of the last government . What Labour really needs is a new leader .

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    sadly TV debates hold a lot of sway, for a lot of people it is easier to make assumptions after a few 60minutes sessions on TV rather than follow politics and the news for four years to make a judgement, just look at the American political system, where else could palin be considered a political heavyweight.

  • Comment number 271.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.


    Nothing to get carried away about at this stage for any of the Westminster parties. Sad though that you think that the TV debates will have such a big influence. Style over substance wins through and we end up with lightweights such as Cameron and Clegg. Makeup and soundbites rule and detail and fact is forgotten.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    Someone quoted that a black member of the shadow cabinet could be the first black prime minister, what drivel, have never heard of this man before, like probably the rest of the country hasnt. ~Ed Milliband is not prime ministerial material, no gravitas, will never make the grade, so I would suggest that they dump him now, could not present UK on the world stage now or in the future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.


    Minor stock broker? You're kidding right? Camerons family on his fathers side come from a long line of prestigious Stock Brokers, one was the London head of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) not to mention their Royal lineage. Plus the fact that the combined wealth of the Camerons is in the region of £30bn+. They are two very different fish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    #266. You are correct,both are from privilaged backgrounds and both are capitalists. To this end I have more time for Cameron whom I disagree with profoundly but at least his views are genuinely held. Milliband is a disgrace to his father and the party he represents,he hasn't a socialist bone in his body.

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    Your point? Tom 204

    My point is you're obsessed with Cameron's background but can't see that Miliband's is pretty similar. Indeed for a career in politics, having a leading Marxist academic and political theorist as a father probably trumps a minor stockbroker. So his family was working class three generations ago - big deal!


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