New faces get key roles as Miliband unveils Shadow Cabinet

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

The MP Tom Watson won a dramatic promotion to the Shadow Cabinet yesterday in recognition of his dogged campaign to expose phone hacking as Ed Miliband moved to give Labour's top team a sharper edge.

He installed new faces in the key health and education posts and promoted five MPs elected for the first time in 2010. They include Rachel Reeves and Chuka Umunna, both 32, who were handed prominent posts marking them out as the party's fastest-rising stars.

Mr Watson resigned as a minister more than two years ago to pursue claims that News of the World journalists had routinely hacked mobile phones. He is rewarded with the post of Labour's deputy chair and campaign co-ordinator, but will retain his seat on the Commons Culture Select Committee, which is investigating phone hacking.

Mr Miliband was free to remould his team after pushing through a rule change that scrapped elections for the Shadow Cabinet amongst Labour MPs.

The nine new names include Stephen Twigg, the former Schools Minister who lost his parliamentary seat in 2005 but returned last year. He was made shadow Education Secretary in succession to Andy Burnham, who takes over the health brief. Mr Burnham will spearhead Labour's opposition to Andrew Lansley's controversial NHS reforms.

Ms Reeves, a former economist, was promoted to shadow Chief Treasury Secretary, where she will oppose the Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander who is overseeing spending cuts and reform of public sector pay and pensions. Mr Umunna, who along with Ms Reeves has been tipped as a future Labour leader, was appointed shadow Business Secretary, where he will have to prove his mettle against Vince Cable. He takes over from John Denham, who steps down from the Shadow Cabinet.

Another member of Labour's "Class of 2010", Margaret Curran, was made shadow Scottish Secretary with the task of leading the fight-back against the resurgent Scottish National Party.

Two other MPs landed plum jobs after only 18 months in the Commons. Liz Kendall was made shadow minister for Care and Older People and Michael Dugher a shadow minister without portfolio. The Conservatives described the reshuffle as a Brownite takeover, claiming that almost two-thirds of the Shadow Cabinet are known supporters of Gordon Brown. Labour dismissed that as "nonsense", saying the faction-fighting of the Blair-Brown era is over and that Mr Miliband had appointed people on merit.

The Labour leader's main goal was to sharpen up the performance of his top team after criticism that it was not landing enough blows on the Government. He also wants to ensure a more co-ordinated assault on the Coalition. "We have been a collection of individuals rather than playing as a team," one opposition frontbencher admitted.

Mr Miliband said: "My decision to appoint half a dozen members of the 2010 intake shows the talent that Labour has and the way in which this new generation can join us in taking Labour's agenda forward."

The New Faces in the Shadow Cabinet

Tom Watson

Labour Party Deputy Chair and Campaign Co-ordinator

Confidant of Gordon Brown who fought a lonely battle against News International on phone-hacking. Is now a Labour hero; his name was cheered at the party conference.

Stephen Twigg

Shadow Education Secretary

Defeated Michael Portillo in true-blue Enfield Southgate in 1997, but lost the seat in 2005. Returned as MP for Liverpool West Derby. Former schools minister.

Vernon Coaker

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary

Former deputy headmaster who was police minister in the last Government. Ally of Ed Balls, and popular within the party.

Margaret Curran

Shadow Scottish Secretary

Only an MP for 17 months, but has long experience of Labour politics in Scotland. Was defeated at Glasgow East by-election in 2008, but won it back in 2010.

Liz Kendall

Shadow Minister for Care and Older People

Has a background as special adviser (to Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt) and policy wonk, regarded as one of the brightest of the 2010 intake.

Michael Dugher

Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)

Earned his spurs as Gordon Brown's spokesman. Born and bred in South Yorkshire and now MP for Barnsley East. Strong union links.

Emily Thornberry

Shadow Attorney General

Former barrister who has been MP for Islington South and Finsbury for six years. Previously a health spokeswoman.

Rachel Reeves

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

There was little doubt Rachel Reeves would be handed a financial brief. Before her election, she worked as an economist at the Bank of England (specialising in quantitative easing), the British Embassy in Washington and the Bank of Scotland. Her husband is a senior Treasury official.

She is by instinct a New Labour-style moderniser, but is respected across the party and persuaded Gordon Brown to write the foreword last year to her book Why Vote Labour?

Ed Miliband brought her on to his front bench as a pension spokesman at his first opportunity last year.

Chuka Umunna

Shadow Business, Innovation and Skills Secretary

Even before his election as Streatham MP last year, he was being labelled a "Labour leader-in-waiting" and the "British Barack Obama". Of Nigerian, Irish and English descent, Umunna becomes the first male black member of a Labour shadow Cabinet. He is on the centre-left of the party and a strong critic of the Iraq war which he condemned as a "massive, era-defining mistake". Ed Miliband appointed him as his Parliamentary Private Secretary in October and has now given him the task of opposing Vince Cable.

...those moving jobs

Eight Shadow Cabinet members are to take on new or altered roles. The most eye-catching move is Andy Burnham's switch from education to health. Harriet Harman, the deputy Labour leader, is exchanging her international development post for the job of shadow Culture Secretary. It is a direct swap with Ivan Lewis, who is demoted to shadow International Secretary. Angela Eagle becomes shadow Commons Leader. She takes over from Hilary Benn, who is now shadow Communities Secretary in succession to Caroline Flint. Tessa Jowell loses her Cabinet Office remit to Jon Trickett.

...and those moving on

John Healey, who is quitting after a lacklustre spell as shadow Health Secretary, said he wanted to spend more time with his wife and teenage son.

John Denham is retiring as the shadow Business Secretary to take the unpaid role of Ed Miliband's parliamentary secretary. He is to step down as an MP at the next election. Shaun Woodward, the former Tory MP who defected to Labour and became Northern Ireland Secretary, is being replaced in the Ulster brief.

Two women are departing after just one year – Meg Hillier (shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, right) and Ann McKechin (shadow Scottish Secretary). Baroness Scotland of Asthal is being replaced as shadow Attorney-General.

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsSchool leaver's YouTube video features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain