Shadow cabinet results . . .

. . . some initial thoughts.

As George has noted, we got the results earlier than 9pm and there are some surprise results (Peter Hain's failure to make the 19) and some expected results (Yvette Cooper topped the poll).

Some initial observations and random thoughts:

* The top three are all members of Team Balls – Balls himself, his wife, Yvette Cooper, and the former housing minister John Healey. MPs backing Balls were decisive in swinging the leadership election to Ed Miliband in the fourth round and have now had a huge influence on the shadow cabinet election.

* Of the top ten, as the ToryPressHQ Twitter feed has mischievously noted, not a single MP put Ed Miliband down as his or her first choice in the leadership election.

* Of the "gang of four" – the quartet of ex-cabinet ministers who backed Ed Miliband – three managed to get elected (John Denham, Sadiq Khan and Hilary Benn) and one (Peter Hain) did not. How will the Labour leader reward the three who survived, if at all? And poor Peter Hain . . .

* There was much fuss about the recent rule change guaranteeing six elected seats in the shadow cabinet to female MPs – in the end, eight of the 19 turned out to be women. As George points out, once you throw in Harriet Harman (deputy leader), Rosie Winterton (the new chief whip) and Baroness Royall (shadow leader of the Lords), "the shadow cabinet contains 11 women (out of 25), not far off Harriet Harman's original target of a 50:50 split".

* Eric Joyce came bottom with ten votes; Emily Thornberry missed out by one vote (getting 99 compared to Liam Byrne's 100 – the latter scraped in, 19th).

* The twins Angela and Maria Eagle have both been elected to the shadow cabinet. So, despite the departure of David Miliband from front-line politics, Labour's front bench still has a pair of siblings to match the Balls-Cooper husband-wife combo.

* The campaign for Yvette Cooper to be appointed shadow chancellor gathers pace: after a brilliant week in which she skewered George Osborne on his child benefit cut and his benefits cap, Mrs Balls did not just top the shadow cabinet election, she won it by a 40-vote margin over second-placed John Healey and secured the votes of 232 out of 258 Labour MPs. Impressive!

* There had been some suggestions yesterday that Ed Miliband would wait till Monday to announce who would be getting what job but I've been told that the decision will be "tomorrow".

My own view has always been that the biggest job of all, the shadow chancellorship, should go to Ed Balls. I still think that would be the right thing to do, but some Labour sources have suggested to me that it might not go to either Mr or Mrs Balls. I think that'd be a mistake – and I'm not sure who's next in line. It wouldn't suit Alan Johnson. Jim Murphy?

Ed Mili – over to you.

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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Why Chris Grayling is Jeremy Corbyn's secret weapon

The housing crisis is Labour's best asset - and Chris Grayling is making it worse. 

It feels like the classic Conservative story: wait until the election is over, then cancel spending in areas that have the temerity to vote Labour. The electrification of rail routes from Cardiff to Swansea – scrapped. So too is the electrification of the Leeds to Manchester route – and of the Midland main line.

But Crossrail 2, which runs from north to south across London and deep into the capital's outer satellites, including that of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, will go ahead as planned.

It would be grim but effective politics if the Conservatives were pouring money into the seats they won or lost narrowly. There are 25 seats that the Conservatives can take with a swing of 1 per cent from Labour to Tory, and 30 seats that they would lose with a swing of 1 per cent from Tory to Labour.

It wouldn’t be at all surprising if the Conservatives were making spending decisions with an eye on what you might call the frontline 55. But what they’re actually doing is taking money away from north-west marginal constituencies – and lavishing cash on increasingly Labour London. In doing that, they’re actually making their electoral headache worse.

How so? As I’ve written before, the biggest problem for the Conservatives in the long term is simply that not enough people are getting on the housing ladder. That is hurting them in two ways. The first is straightforward: economically-driven voters are not turning blue when they turn 30 because they are not either on or about to mount the first rungs of the housing ladder. More than half of 30-year-olds were mortgage-payers in 1992, when John Major won an unexpected Conservative majority, while under a third were in 2017, when Theresa May unexpectedly lost hers.

But it is also hurting them because culturally-driven voters are getting on the housing ladder, but by moving out of areas where Labour’s socially-concerned core vote congregates in great numbers, and into formerly safe or at least marginal Conservative seats. That effect has reached what might be its final, and for the Conservatives, deadly form in Brighton. All three of the Brighton constituencies – Hove, Brighton Kemptown and Brighton Pavilion – were Conservative-held in 1992. Now none of them are. In Pavilion they are third, and the smallest majority they have to overcome is 9,868, in Kemptown. The same effect helped reduce Amber Rudd’s majority in Hastings, also in East Sussex, to 346.

The bad news for the Conservatives is that the constituencies of Crawley, Reading, Swindon and in the longer-term, Bracknell, all look like Brightons in the making: although only Reading East fell to Labour this time, all saw swings bigger than the national average and all are seeing increasing migration by culturally-driven left-wing voters away from safe Labour seats. All are seeing what you might call “Hackneyfication”: commuters moving from inner city seats but taking their politics with them.

Add to that forced migration from inner London to seats like Iain Duncan Smith’s in Chingford – once a Conservative fortress, now a razor-thin marginal – and even before you add in the appeal of Jeremy Corbyn’s person and platform, the electoral picture for the Conservatives looks bleak.

(It should go without saying that voters are driven by both economics and culture. The binary I’ve used here is simplistic but helpful to understand the growing demographic pressures on the Conservatives.)

There is actually a solution here for the Tories. It’s both to build more housing but also to rebalance the British economy, because the housing crisis in London and the south is driven by the jobs and connectivity crisis in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Or, instead, they could have a number of measures designed to make London’s economy stride still further ahead of the rest, serviced by 5 per cent mortgages and growing numbers of commuter rail services to facilitate a growing volume of consumers from London’s satellite towns, all of which only increase the electoral pressures on their party. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.