Ed Miliband warned to avoid return to old rivalries ahead of party reshuffle

 

A fresh bout of Labour infighting has broken out over whether Liam Byrne, a Blairite, should remain in charge of the party's policy review.

Ed Miliband will shortly carry out a mini-reshuffle of his Shadow Cabinet after Peter Hain, the shadow Welsh Secretary, announced yesterday that he is quitting the front bench. Mr Byrne, who is shadow Work and Pensions Secretary as well as Labour's policy chief, is expected to lose one of his two jobs. After taking a hardline stance on welfare reform, the arch-Blairite has clashed with allies of Gordon Brown, who are lobbying for him to lose the policy brief.

But other shadow ministers are appalled by the return of old rivalries at a time when Mr Miliband is winning plaudits and Labour did well in this month's council elections. One said: "Any attempt to humiliate Liam Byrne will be seen as a return to the factionalism we thought we had put behind us."

Mr Hain, 62, said he wanted to bow out on a high after Labour's strong performance in Wales in the local elections. He wants to devote time campaigning for a barrage across the River Severn. He intends to stand again in his Neath constituency at the next general election.

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