Ed Miliband to make Labour shadow cabinet appointments

Image caption,
Ed Miliband will choose who gets what role in Labour's shadow cabinet

Labour leader Ed Miliband is deciding who will be key figures in his shadow cabinet after the election of 19 MPs.

Former Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper topped the list and is being tipped as a possible shadow chancellor, as is her husband Ed Balls.

There are more women this time round, including Tessa Jowell, Caroline Flint and Angela and Maria Eagle.

From the previous government, figures such as Pat McFadden, Shaun Woodward and Ben Bradshaw were not successful.

It is up to Mr Miliband to decide which of the successful candidates is given which job.

Labour said there would be no announcements until at least lunchtime, with the full list expected by the end of the day.

Although Peter Hain did not make in into the top 19, he could be in line for the post of shadow Welsh secretary as no other MPs with a constituency in Wales were voted in.

Mr Miliband is expected to appoint an extra member to fill the role from one of the eight Welsh Labour MPs who stood for election. Mr Hain, Welsh Secretary in the last government, was the highest placed among them.

Positions strengthened

BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins says Mr Miliband's decisions about Ms Cooper and Mr Balls will attract the biggest headlines and could shape Labour's economic direction. They were first and third respectively in the shadow cabinet elections.

Our correspondent says both are strengthened by the results, and both are contenders for the position of shadow chancellor.

Mr Balls has opposed not only the pace of spending cuts planned by the coalition, but that proposed by Labour before the general election.

His appointment would be a clear indication of what line Mr Miliband planned to take in the debate about the deficit.

Reacting to the ballot on the social networking site Twitter, Mr Balls wrote of himself and his wife: "We both v happy with the results."

Among the 19 people chosen, from a field of 49, were former cabinet ministers Alan Johnson, Hilary Benn, Andy Burnham, Douglas Alexander, John Denham, Jim Murphy and Liam Byrne.

Under Labour rules, MPs had to elect at least six female colleagues to the shadow cabinet but opted for eight in total.

Diane Abbott, one of the challengers in the recent leadership race, was not among them.

As well as former Europe minister Ms Flint and sisters Angela and Maria Eagle, Meg Hillier and Ann McKechin won places.

Ex-Cabinet Office minister and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell retains her top-team status, while Mary Creagh enters the shadow cabinet despite never having served on the front bench before.

There are another two female MPs and one peer who already have a place in the shadow cabinet, bringing the total of women to 11.

First outing

Harriet Harman, elected deputy party leader in 2007, is included automatically, while chief whip Rosie Winterton was elected unopposed to the position last week. Baroness Royall, leader of the opposition in the House of Lords, also retains her place.

Chair of the parliamentary party Tony Lloyd and Labour chief whip in the Lords, Steve Bassam, have also already been allocated places in the shadow cabinet.

Some 258 Labour MPs were eligible to vote in the cabinet contest. Ms Cooper was picked by 232 of them, ex-housing minister John Healey got 192 votes and Mr Balls 179.

Mr Healey said he was "very pleased" with the result, adding that new shadow cabinet would be a strong mixture of "old heads and new blood" drawing on talent from across the party.

"The real work starts now," he told the BBC. "We have to show there is an alternative in every area."

Angela Eagle came joint fourth with Mr Burnham, on 165 votes, followed by Mr Johnson, who attracted the support of 163 MPs.

Ten of the 19 candidates backed David Miliband in the leadership contest, while five supported Ed Miliband, three Mr Balls and one Mr Burnham.

The first significant outing for the new shadow cabinet team will come next Wednesday, when party leader Mr Miliband takes on David Cameron at prime minister's questions for the first time.

Labour elects its top team only when in opposition, the last such contest taking place in 1996.

The full list of successful candidates was: (in order of votes cast)

Yvette Cooper - 232 votes

John Healey - 192 votes

Ed Balls - 179 votes

Andy Burnham - 165 votes

Angela Eagle - 165 votes

Alan Johnson - 163 votes

Douglas Alexander - 160 votes

Jim Murphy - 160 votes

Tessa Jowell - 152 votes

Caroline Flint - 139 votes

John Denham - 129 votes

Hilary Benn - 128 votes

Sadiq Khan - 128 votes

Mary Creagh - 119 votes

Ann McKechin - 117 votes

Maria Eagle - 107 votes

Meg Hillier - 106 votes

Ivan Lewis - 104 votes

Liam Byrne - 100 votes

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