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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Arts and Entertainment
Ugne, 32, is a Lithuanian bodybuilder
tvThey include a Lithuanian bodybuilder who believes 'cake is a sin' and the Dalai Lama's personal photographer
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon have just launched their new streaming service in the UK
music
News
Frankie Boyle
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an est...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Representative - OTE £55,000

£30000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Why not be in charge of your ow...

Recruitment Genius: Business Operations Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation based in Peac...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £43,000

£20000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful and rapidly gro...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food