UK Politics

Shadow cabinet elections: 49 MPs enter ballot

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls
Image caption Ed Balls is considered a contender for the shadow chancellor post

Defeated leadership candidates Andy Burnham, Ed Balls and Diane Abbott are among 49 MPs standing for elections to Labour's shadow cabinet.

Former cabinet ministers Alan Johnson, Tessa Jowell and Yvette Cooper have also entered the ballot for 19 posts - elected by Labour MPs.

Rosie Winterton is the only name entered for the ballot for chief whip.

Earlier, David Miliband said he would return to the back benches, having lost the leadership to his brother Ed.

The former foreign secretary told the BBC his brother needed a "clean field" to lead as he saw fit.

Shadow chancellor role

Although MPs elect the shadow cabinet, the new party leader will decide which jobs the successful candidates get.

Commentators will be watching for signs of the team's likely future direction, in particular what happens to key supporters of Ed Miliband - such as his leadership campaign manager Sadiq Khan - and also those who backed David Miliband.

The post of shadow chancellor will be most closely watched - Ed Balls is seen as a key contender and has criticised former chancellor Alistair Darling's plan to halve the deficit within four years. His wife Yvette Cooper has also been linked to the role.

And there is speculation that Harriet Harman, who is already in the shadow cabinet as deputy leader, could be offered a job shadowing one of the big portfolios.

Among those who have entered their names into the ballot are former cabinet ministers: Hilary Benn, Ben Bradshaw, Liam Byrne, John Denham, Peter Hain, Stephen Timms, Shaun Woodward and Jim Murphy.

Eric Joyce - who quit as an aide to former Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth last year in a row over strategy in Afghanistan - is also standing, as is Caroline Flint, who resigned as Europe minister last year and accused Gordon Brown of treating women like "window dressing".

'Fresh start'

One face from the previous government who will not be part of the new team is the current chief whip, Nick Brown.

He had intended to stand again but decided against entering his name into the separate chief whip ballot after Ed Miliband told him he wanted a "fresh start" for his leadership.

BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said he understood some of David Miliband's supporters had lobbied his brother to get rid of Mr Brown - who is seen as being close to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and an opponent of David Miliband.

Labour's shadow cabinet is elected by MPs when the party is in opposition, with the elections held every two years. The leader and deputy leader are elected separately. The chief whip is also elected separately to serve a full parliament.

Nominations for the shadow cabinet elections closed at 1700 BST and voting will take place between 4 and 7 October.

Earlier this month Labour MPs rejected a move to change the rules to allow the party leader to choose who serves on the shadow cabinet, but elections were limited to every two years - before 1997 it used to be every year.

Under new rules agreed earlier this month, there must be a minimum of six female MPs in Labour's shadow cabinet.

Earlier Mr Miliband suggested his brother could return to the shadow cabinet in future: "I am very clear that, as leader of this party, my door is always open for him to serve in the future, either in opposition or back in government."

Here is the full list of MPs standing for election to the shadow cabinet:

Diane Abbott

Douglas Alexander

Ed Balls

Hilary Benn

Roberta Blackman-Woods

Ben Bradshaw

Kevin Brennan

Chris Bryant

Andy Burnham

Liam Byrne

Vernon Coaker

Yvette Cooper

Mary Creagh

Wayne David

John Denham

Angela Eagle

Maria Eagle

Rob Flello

Caroline Flint

Mike Gapes

Barry Gardiner

Helen Goodman

Peter Hain

David Hanson

Tom Harris

John Healey

Meg Hillier

Huw Irranca-Davies

Kevan Jones

Alan Johnson

Tessa Jowell

Eric Joyce

Barbara Keeley

Sadiq Khan

David Lammy

Chris Leslie

Ivan Lewis

Ian Lucas

Fiona Mactaggart

Pat McFadden

Ann McKechin

Alun Michael

Jim Murphy

Gareth Thomas

Emily Thornberry

Stephen Timms

Stephen Twigg

Shaun Woodward

Iain Wright

Rosie Winterton - standing in separate ballot for chief whip

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