Yvette Cooper tops the list of Labour MPs in vote for Shadow Cabinet
Yvette Cooper topped the poll last night as Labour MPs elected the "new generation" of senior frontbenchers who will serve under the party's new leader, Ed Miliband.
Ms Cooper strengthened her claim to a senior post, possibly as shadow Chancellor, by winning the votes of 232 of the 257 Labour MPs in the Shadow Cabinet elections. She was one of eight women elected by Labour MPs for the 19 places up for grabs. Mr Miliband is expected to announce today which portfolios the winners will get.
John Healey, Labour's housing spokesman and a close ally of Gordon Brown, came a surprise second, finishing above Ed Balls and Andy Burnham, who both contested the party's leadership election.
Labour MPs tipped Mr Balls, who is married to Ms Cooper, to become shadow Home Secretary, while Mr Burnham's fourth place should ensure him a top job.
Diane Abbott, who also stood for the leadership, failed to win a seat in the Shadow Cabinet, winning a disappointing 59 votes.
Three ministers in Mr Brown's cabinet lost their places in Labour's top team – Ben Bradshaw, the former culture secretary; Shaun Woodward, an ex-Tory MP who was Northern Ireland secretary and Peter Hain, the former Welsh secretary, who backed Mr Miliband as leader. However, Mr Hain may be appointed shadow Welsh secretary because no Welsh MP was elected last night.
Although Labour's rulebook ensures the Shadow Cabinet must include at least six women, Labour MPs exceeded that by choosing eight. The other women elected were Tessa Jowell, the Blairite former culture secretary; Caroline Flint, the former Europe minister; Meg Hillier, an ex-Home Office minister; Mary Creagh; the twins Angela and Maria Eagle and Ann McKechin.
In the Shadow Cabinet as whole, 11 of the 25 posts will be women. The others are Harriet Harman, the deputy leader; Rosie Winterton, the chief whip and Baroness Royall, the shadow Leader of the House of Lords.
Maria Eagle said: "I think the fact that eight women have been elected shows that the Parliamentary Labour Party want a balance in terms of gender. They've noticed that the Government is gender-blind, it's hitting women very hard."
Ten of the 19 elected last night supported David Miliband in the leadership election and only five his brother – Sadiq Khan, the only Shadow Cabinet member from an ethnic minority who is seen as a rising Labour star; Hilary Benn; John Denham; Maria Eagle and Ms McKechin.
David Miliband has decided not to serve in the top team and has returned to the back benches. Jim Murphy, who ran his campaign, won a Shadow Cabinet post and Liam Byrne, another supporter, scraped home in last place with 100 votes, just one ahead of Emily Thornberry. Blairites who failed to win election included Mr Bradshaw, Pat McFadden, Stephen Twigg and Fiona McTaggart.
As well as installing a younger Labour team, the results mean the party now has fewer Scottish representatives at its top table than for many years. Only three MPs representing constituencies north of the border were elected.
Jack Straw, who stood down after 30 years on Labour's front bench, said the system under which MPs choose the top team when the party is in opposition was "barking mad". He said: "What it means is that, of the 18 or 19 people in the Shadow Cabinet, probably a dozen are capable of being in cabinet, half a dozen are not and if and when – and it will be when – we have a Labour government, some of those people who thought this was a kind of meal ticket into the proper cabinet will be sorely disappointed."
Other former Cabinet ministers who have left the front bench include Alistair Darling, the former chancellor, and Bob Ainsworth, the ex-defence secretary.
The team to be named by Ed Miliband will not necessarily form the cabinet if Labour wins the next general election. Labour MPs hold their popularity contest every two years, so a new Shadow Cabinet will be elected in 2012 and 2014.
Last night the Liberal Democrats poured scorn on the idea that Ed Miliband headed a "new generation" of Labour politicians. They said every member of the new Shadow Cabinet served in the Brown government – 11 as cabinet ministers and eight in more junior roles.
Shadow Cabinet poll results
Name/Number of votes/In-Out
Diane Abbott 59
Douglas Alexander 160 In
Ed Balls 179 In
Hilary Benn 128 In
Roberta Blackman-Woods 63
Ben Bradshaw 53
Kevin Brennan 64
Chris Bryant 77
Andy Burnham 165 In
Liam Byrne 100 In
Vernon Coaker 85
Yvette Cooper 232 In
Mary Creagh 119 In
Wayne David 30
John Denham 129 In
Angela Eagle 165 In
Maria Eagle 107 In
Rob Flello 15
Caroline Flint 139 In
Mike Gapes 12
Barry Gardiner 41
Helen Goodman 80
Peter Hain 97
David Hanson 38
Tom Harris 54
John Healey 192 In
Meg Hillier 106 In
Huw Irranca-Davies 28
Kevan Jones 68
Alan Johnson 163 In
Tessa Jowell 152 In
Eric Joyce 10
Barbara Keeley 87
Sadiq Khan 128 In
David Lammy 80
Chris Leslie 26
Ivan Lewis 104 In
Ian Lucas 34
Fiona Mactaggart 88
Pat McFadden 84
Ann McKechin 117 In
Alun Michael 11
Jim Murphy 160 In
Gareth Thomas 71
Emily Thornberry 99
Stephen Timms 79
Stephen Twigg 55
Shaun Woodward 72
Iain Wright 43
New faces: Six rising stars who will march out on to party's frontline
It was a surprise to many when Healey pipped Ed Balls to second place. But colleagues were impressed by his thorough job as housing minister, often providing them with tailored briefings they were able to use in their local campaigns. His allies also say that despite once working as Gordon Brown's bag carrier, he was not marked as a Brownite and gained support from across the party.
Notoriously fell out with Gordon Brown when the former prime minister refused to give her a place in the Cabinet in his last reshuffle. She has finally made it. Very much seen as a Blairite and has served as a Europe and housing minister. Has also performed well in opposition, attacking the Government's plan to give anonymity to rape suspects.
Had become a popular figure in the Commons and now looks destined for a major promotion having overseen the day-to-day running of Ed Miliband's leadership campaign. Was already acting shadow Transport Secretary after Lord Adonis stepped down from the position. He is likely to be given an even bigger job now. Will become a regular media figure, too.
The only female candidate from Scotland will be hot favourite to be appointed shadow Scottish Secretary.
A supporter of Ed Miliband, the former solicitor has long been active in Labour politics in Glasgow. Ms McKechin, 48, served as a junior Scottish Office minister between 2008 and 2010.
The second-highest-scoring woman in the contest, she served as a minister for five years under Tony Blair. She was sacked in 2002, but Gordon Brown brought her back to the government five years later.
Ms Eagle, 49, was the first female MP to enter a civil partnership. Her twin sister, Maria, was also elected.
With just one year on the Labour front bench (as a whip), the MP for Wakefield since 2005 is the least experienced of the new shadow Cabinet. Mrs Creagh, 42, the former Labour group leader of Islington council, was marked out as one of the stars of her generation by Gordon Brown.
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