Alan Johnson named as shadow chancellor

Alan Johnson was appointed to the key role of shadow chancellor in Ed Miliband's first shadow cabinet today.

The former home secretary will spearhead Labour's assault on Chancellor George Osborne's spending cuts after Mr Miliband drew back from appointing either Ed Balls or his wife Yvette Cooper.



Both had been widely tipped as possible candidates, with Mr Balls in particular having made no secret of his desire to take on the economic portfolio.



Instead he becomes shadow home secretary while Ms Cooper - who topped the shadow cabinet ballot of Labour MPs - gets shadow foreign secretary.



Despite his long Treasury experience, Mr Balls may have been seen as too independent, having already declared he would re-write former chancellor Alistair Darling's plans to halve the deficit in four years, slowing the pace of cuts.



Mr Miliband may have also feared that he would have used the shadow chancellor's office to establish a rival power base, in an echo of the conflicts which dogged the Blair-Brown years.



Mr Johnson has a genuine popular touch and his appointment will be seen as an olive branch to the supporters of David Miliband, who he backed for the leadership.



In his first statement on taking up the post, he said he would not oppose Government measures "for the sake of it" and would work with Ed Miliband to develop a "real and responsible" alternative to the coalition's plans.



"We are both passionate about a new kind of politics where we will not disagree with our political opponents for the sake of it," he said.



"These are testing times and we will be a responsible opposition acting in the national interest. Ed and I will work together to build a plan for growth and for jobs in our economy.



"We will offer a real and responsible alternative to the dangerous plans of this coalition Government which is damaging the economic future of millions of families."



Transport Secretary Philip Hammond however dismissed him as a "caretaker appointment".



"Ed Miliband said that he wanted to move on to a new generation of Labour politicians - but Alan Johnson frankly is from the last generation of Labour politicians," he said.



"His economic policy is a bit of an unknown for us, I have to say, and his track record on taking tough decisions is not a great one."



Mr Balls said that he was "surprised but pleased" to have been given the home affairs brief and sought to play down suggestions that he was disappointed not to get shadow chancellor.



"Obviously the economic argument has been very important to me - that is why I stood for leader of the Labour Party. But to me it's never been about the job you are doing and the particular personality, it is about winning the argument," he said.



"Ed Miliband and Alan Johnson and a unified cabinet now have to make sure that we win that argument. For me, this home affairs brief is very important."



In other key appointments, defeated leadership contender Andy Burnham becomes shadow education secretary and election co-ordinator while John Healey - who came a surprise second in the shadow cabinet ballot - takes on health.



There a big jobs for two of David Miliband's lieutenants in the leadership contest - Douglas Alexander and Jim Murphy - who will tackle work and pensions, and defence respectively.



Ed Miliband's own campaign manager, Sadiq Khan, is rewarded with the plum post of shadow lord chancellor and justice secretary, and will shadow Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's political and constitutional reform programme.



Deputy leader Harriet Harman will also take on the international development portfolio.



Mr Miliband said that he was that he was "delighted" with his new team, which was drawn from "a broad range of talents across our party".



"Together this new generation of Labour will work together to reject the pessimism of this coalition Government as we set out our vision of what Britain can achieve."



Other appointments were John Denham to business, innovation and skills; Caroline Flint communities and local government; Meg Hillier energy and climate change; Maria Eagle transport; Mary Creagh environment; Ann McKechin Scotland; Ivan Lewis culture, media and sport; Tessa Jowell Olympics, Liam Byrne Cabinet Office; Hilary Benn shadow leader of the Commons; and Angela Eagle shadow treasury chief secretary.



Peter Hain and Shaun Woodward, who both failed to secure election to the shadow cabinet, nevertheless carry on shadowing Wales and Northern Ireland respectively, as discretionary appointments of the leader.

Mr Johnson said tonight that he would take Mr Darling's plan for tackling the deficit as his "starting point", rejecting Mr Balls' argument that it was cutting too quickly.



"I have never agreed that Alistair's proposals were over too short a period. I think he got it just about right but nothing is preserved in aspic and we need to look at all this again," he told Sky News.



"There have been developments since the General Election. We need to take all those into account."



FULL LIST OF SHADOW CABINET APPOINTMENTS







Leader of the Opposition: Ed Miliband



Deputy leader and shadow secretary of state for international development: Harriet Harman



Shadow chancellor of the Exchequer: Alan Johnson



Shadow secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth affairs and minister for women and equalities: Yvette Cooper



Shadow secretary of state for the home department: Ed Balls



Chief whip: Rosie Winterton



Shadow secretary of state for education and election coordinator: Andy Burnham



Shadow lord chancellor, secretary of state for justice (with responsibility for political and constitutional reform): Sadiq Khan



Shadow secretary of state for work and pensions: Douglas Alexander



Shadow secretary of state for business, innovation and skills: John Denham



Shadow secretary of state for health: John Healey



Shadow secretary of state for communities and local government: Caroline Flint



Shadow secretary of state for defence: Jim Murphy



Shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change: Meg Hillier



Shadow leader of the House of Commons: Hilary Benn



Shadow secretary of state for transport: Maria Eagle



Shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs: Mary Creagh



Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury: Angela Eagle



Shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland: Shaun Woodward



Shadow secretary of state for Scotland: Ann McKechin



Shadow secretary of state for Wales: Peter Hain



Shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport: Ivan Lewis



Shadow leader of the House of Lords: Baroness Royall of Blaisdon



Shadow minister for the Olympics: Tessa Jowell



Shadow minister for the Cabinet Office: Liam Byrne



Lords chief whip: Lord Bassam of Brighton



Shadow attorney-general: Baroness Scotland



Also attending shadow cabinet meetings:



Shadow minister of state for the Cabinet Office: Jon Trickett

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
News
people

Far-right organisation has defended its actions on Facebook

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo, writes Paul Scholes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£4848 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Outstanding...

Cover Supervisors/Teaching Assistants Secondary Schools in York

Negotiable: Randstad Education Leeds: Cover Supervisors/Long Term Teaching Ass...

Science Teacher

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher...

Cover Supervisor

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Cover Supervisors needed for seco...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker