Labour and government reshuffles: live updates

The news of who's up and who's down as David Cameron and Ed Miliband refresh their teams.

18:17pm With both reshuffles complete, we're going to end the live blog now. 

We'll be back in the morning with more comment and analysis as Labour announces further changes to its shadow ministerial team. 

18:05pm The wife of Robert Syms, who was sacked as a Conservative whip, has taken to Twitter to express her outrage.

17:58pm Downing Street has posted a full list of all ministeral appointments announced today here

17:16pm There's been much talk of how Maria Eagle's departure as shadow transport secretary (she is now shadow environment secretary) could pave the way for a Labour U-turn over High Speed 2. But during this afternoon's reshuffle briefing, the party's spokesman emphasised that Mary Creagh is a "supporter of HS2" and that "there is no change in the party's position".

17:07pm You can view the new shadow cabinet in full here. Another change worth noting is that Wayne David has become PPS to Miliband, joining Karen Buck. That means the well-regarded Jonathan Reynolds, who has served as PPS to Miliband since 2011, can expect a promotion in tomorrow's junior-level reshuffle. 

16:51pm The Tories have responded to Labour's reshuffle by declaring that Len McCluskey has got his "dream team", a reference to my interview with him in which he famously called for Douglas Alexander, Liam Byrne and Jim Murphy ("the Blairites") to be ignored or sacked. 

But while Byrne has lost his post as shadow work and pensions secretary (he remains on the frontbench as higher education spokesman) and Murphy has been demoted to shadow international development spokesman (from shadow defence), this reshuffle is far from a lurch to the left. 

Tristram Hunt (shadow education) and Gloria De Piero (shadow women and equalities), two "Blairite" figures, have both received major promotions, while Douglas Alexander, one of those singled out by McCluskey, has been appointed chair of general election strategy. In addition, Lord Falconer, a former cabinet minister under Tony Blair, will advise Miliband on "planning and transition" into government. 

By any measure, this was not a "purge of the Blairites". 

16:30pm Ed Miliband has now completed his shadow cabinet reshuffle. Here are all the details: 

- Douglas Alexander has been named as chair of general election strategy and planning. He remains shadow foreign secretary. 

- Spencer Livermore, Gordon Brown's former director of strategy, has been appointed general election campaign director. 

- Lord Falconer, who served as Lord Chancellor under Tony Blair, will advise Miliband on "planning and transition" into government. 

- Tristram Hunt has been named shadow education secretary. He replaces Stephen Twigg, who becomes shadow minister of state for justice. 

- Rachel Reeves is now shadow work and pensions secretary. She replaces Liam Byrne, who becomes Labour's higher education spokesman. 

- Chris Leslie, the current shadow financial secretary to the Treasury, replaces Reeves as shadow chief secretary. 

- Vernon Coaker is the new shadow defence secretary. He replaces Jim Murphy, who is now shadow international development secretary.

- Ivan Lewis, the current shadow international development secretary, replaces Coaker as shadow Northern Ireland secretary. 

- Gloria De Piero has been promoted to shadow minister for women and equalities. 

- Emma Reynolds has been promoted from shadow Europe minister to shadow housing minister (attending shadow cabinet). 

- Maria Eagle is now shadow environment secretary and has been replaced as shadow transport secretary by Mary Creagh. 

- Michael Dugher has been promoted from minister without portfolio to shadow Cabinet Office minister. He retains responsibility for political and campaign communications. 

- A Labour spokesman told The Staggers that the reshuffle had focused on "rewarding some of our most talented women and younger MPs."

- After the changes, 44% of the shadow cabinet are women (up from 40%) and 31% were elected in 2010.

- Further frontbench appointments will be announced tomorrow, with those who have been overlooked today, such as Stella Creasy, in line for new posts. 

15:49pm After months of Conservative attacks against Andy Burnham over his record as health secretary, some commentators have advised Miliband to move Burnham to neutralise the Tories' offensive. But the BBC is reporting that he will remain in post; that will go down well with Labour MPs and party members among whom he is one of the most popular shadow cabinet members. 

15:42pm As I reported earlier, Liam Byrne has lost his job as shadow work and pensions secretary but it's just emerged that he will remain on the front-bench as higher education spokesman. 

15:41pm After the demotion of Jim Murphy (see 14:48pm) and the sacking of Liam Byrne and Stephen Twigg, the Tories are seeking to frame Labour's reshuffle as "anti-Blairite". But the confirmation that Tristram Hunt, one of the "Blairites for Ed", has been appointed as shadow eduation secretary, will make that task a little harder. 

15:34pm Elsewhere on The Staggers, our resident Scottish nationalist James Maxwell has written on why Michael Moore's departure as Scottish Secretary could weaken the No side. He argues: 

Moore’s sacking is a classic Westminster misreading of the Scottish situation. London is obsessed with the idea that a big hitter” is needed to "take on" Salmond. Yet quite apart from the fact that Carmichael is hardly a "big hitter", the First Minister relishes (and has a habit of winning) confrontations that allow him to pit plucky, populist Holyrood against the big, clunking fist of Whitehall. Moore was a formidable opponent because his measured, moderate unionism was difficult for the nationalists to deal with. For no good reason at all, the no campaign has just dumped one of its strongest cards.

15:10pm Michael Dugher, currently vice-chair, is to replace Jon Trickett as shadow Cabinet Office minister. He's also one of the candidates for the post of campaign co-ordinator, although that is expected to go to Douglas Alexander. 

15:08pm Liz Kendall, who is currently shadow care minister, has secured a high-ranking post, according to Raf. We're waiting to hear which one, but she has been in the running to replace Stephen Twigg at education. 

14:58pm Raf suggests Miliband's changes are aimed at giving the shadow cabinet the political cover to talk about public service reform.

14:48pm The Labour reshufle is now underway, with Jim Murphy reportedly demoted from shadow defence to shadow international development. 

Liam Byrne's departure is likely to be officially confirmed shortly; we expect him to be replaced as shadow work and pensions secretary by Rachel Reeves. 

As I noted earlier (see 10:45am), Len McCluskey told me in my interview with him earlier this year that he wanted Douglas Alexander, Murphy and Byrne to be ignored or sacked. While Murphy has been demoted and Byrne sacked, Alexander is expected to be named as Labour's new campaign co-ordinator. 

14:30pm Following Jeremy Browne's surprise sacking as Home Office minister (see 13:49pm), here's Nick Clegg's notably terse letter to him. 

More than three years into the coalition, we're still waiting for a defection, could Browne provide it? In his recent interview with Raf, he praised David Cameron for identifying "the big issue of our time" in the form of "the global race" and went on to laud the theme again in a piece for Coffee House. After previously attempting to woo David Laws, will the Tories be giving Browne a call? 

Dear Jeremy

I want to thank you for the key role  you have played in government over the past three years, first as Minister of State at the Foreign Office and latterly as Minister of State in the Home Office.

You have made a hugely valuable political contribution to the coalition over the past three years both as a highly able representative of the UK to other nations and more recently dealing with the many domestic challenges that face the Home Office.

It is always very difficult to move colleagues out of government but as you know, I have always been keen that we provide the opportunity for as many in our ranks as possible to contribute their skills to Ministerial office during this Parliament so that, just as the government has benefited from your contribution over the past three years, it can also gain from those of other colleagues in the remaining years of this parliament.

I am immensely grateful to you for your commitment and support over the past few years. You have made a major contribution to this historic coalition government and as one of the very few ministers who have served in two departments, I have no doubt there will be an opportunity for your experience to be deployed in government in the future.

Yours sincerely

Nick Clegg

14:20pm It's been another good reshuffle for the Osbornites, with the Chancellor's former chief of staff Matthew Hancock promoted to minister of state for skills and enterprise. Earlier today, Greg Hands, Osborne's former PPS, was named deputy chief whip and Sajid Javid, another former Osborne PPS, was promoted to Financial Secretary to the Treasury. 

13:59pm Jeremy Browne, who was dramatically sacked as Home Office minister (see 13:49pm), has been replaced by Norman Baker, who is currently at Transport. Given Baker's belief that David Kelly was murdered (outlined in his book The Strange Death of David Kelly) it's an appointment that will rise eyebrows among the Tories. 

13:54pm I noted earlier that some Lib Dems are disappointed that the party still lacks a single female cabinet minister, with Jo Swinson overlooked for Scottish Secretary, but Open Europe's Pawel Swidlicki has offered a possible explanation: she's due to go on maternity leave next year. 

13:49pm In the most surprising news of the day so far, Jeremy Browne, a close ideological ally of Clegg, has been sacked as home office minister. You can read Raf's recent interview with him, in which he attacked Labour and praised David Cameron, here

13:38pm While David Cameron is using his reshuffle to promote Tory women, after today's changes, the Lib Dems are still without a single female cabinet minister.

Jo Swinson has long been regarded as cabinet material but was snubbed in favour of party chief whip Alistair Carmichael, who replaced Michael Moore as Scottish Secretary this morning. After being challenged on this point by Lib Dem councillor Matthew Hulbert, party president Tim Farron replied: "I've argued that we should have them!" He added that he would "love to have Lynne [Featherstone] or Jo [Swinson] in the cabinet."

13:34pm Mark Prisk has been sacked as housing minister. With polls showing that the issue is rising in importance to voters, his replacement will be worth noting. 

13:31pm After Sajid Javid's promotion (see 12:46pm), Nicky Morgan has replaced him as Economic Secretary to the Treasury becoming the first woman in what was previously an all-male line up. 

12:53pm Rachel Reeves, who has long been in line for a promotion, has just been spotted heading towards Ed Miliband's office. We're tipping her to replace Liam Byrne as shadow work and pensions secretary. 

12:46pm The much-praised Sajid Javid has been promoted to Financial Secretary to the Treasury after serving for a year as Economic Secretary. Widely amired for his energy and intellect (he became a vice president at Chase Manhattan at 25), he is likely to be in the cabinet before the election. 

12:38pm Esther McVey, who is currently minister for disabled people, has been appointed employment minister. With the Tories briefing that Cameron is looking to give more prominence to women and northerners, she was always a safe bet for a promotion. 

12:02pm Richard Benyon, who is, among other things, Britain's wealthiest MP, has stepped down as parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

12:01pm Tim Farron, a reliably amusing tweeter (who I interviewed last month), has greeted Foster's appointment.

11:49am Lib Dem Don Foster, currently at the Department for Communities and Local Government, has replaced Alistair Carmichael as the party's chief whip.

Earlier this morning, it was announced that Carmichael had replaced Michael Moore as Scottish Secretary. 

11:37am Among the appointments Ed Miliband is likely to announce today is that of campaign co-ordinator, the post Tom Watson resigned from in July. I listed the runners and riders at the time, including Douglas Alexander, Michael Dugher and Sadiq Khan. 

Our sources suggest that Alexander, who ran the 2010 general election campaign and is widely admired for his intellect and strategic nous, is most likely to get the nod. 

11:25am Maria Eagle has lost her post as shadow transport secretary, a move that could pave the way for a Labour U-turn over High Speed 2. 

Eagle has been a champion of the project and notably reaffirmed Labour's support for it in her conference speech after Ed Balls questioned whether it was "the best way to spend £50bn for the future of our country".

Some in Labour would like to transfer funds from HS2 to more electorally popular projects such as a mass housebuilding programme. As Balls has recognised (he remarked at a fringe meeting that the money could be used for "building new homes or new schools or new hospitals"), the move would allow Labour to differentiate itself from the Tories while remaining within George Osborne's fiscal envelope. Eagle's departure has removed one of the obstacles to doing so. 

10:45am As Miliband reshuffles the shadow cabinet, expect the Tories to be watching the fate of "the Blairites" closely. In his famous interview with me earlier this year, Len McCluskey suggested that Douglas Alexander, Jim Murphy and Liam Byrne (who he dubbed "the Blairites") should be ignored or sacked. 

The Unite general secretary said of Byrne: 

Byrne certainly doesn’t reflect the views of my members and of our union’s policy. I think some of the terminology that he uses is regrettable and I think it will damage Labour. Ed’s got to figure out what his team will be.

And of Alexander and Murphy:

If he gets seduced by the Jim Murphys and the Douglas Alexanders, then the truth is that he’ll be defeated and he’ll be cast into the dustbin of history.

As I've previously reported, Byrne, currently shadow work and pensions secretary, is likely to be replaced by Rachel Reeves. If other "Blarite" figures, such as Stephen Twigg and Jim Murphy, are also axed, expect the Tories to brand this "Len's reshuffle". 

Reeves is likely to be replaced as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury by Chris Leslie, the current shadow financial secretary to the Treasury, who covered for her while she was on maternity leave over the summer. 

10:30am After months of speculation, all three party leaders are reshuffling their teams today. We'll be bringing you live updates as they do. 

The first casualty of the day was Lib Dem Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, who was sacked by Nick Clegg and replaced by Lib Dem chief whip Alistair Carmichael. You can read Clegg's letter to Moore and Moore's response here. No further cabinet-level changes will take place. 

Ahead of David Cameron's reshuffle of junior ministers, deputy chief whip John Randall and Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith resigned from their positions last night. 

On the Labour side, shadow justice minister Rob Flello and shadow minister for disabled people Anne Maguire have stood down in advance of Miliband's changes to his team.

David Cameron and Ed Miliband walk through the Members' Lobby to listen to the Queen's Speech at the State Opening of Parliament on May 8, 2013. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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The decline of the north's sporting powerhouse

Yorkshire historically acted as a counterweight to the dominance of southern elites, in sport as in politics and culture. Now, things are different.

On a drive between Sheffield and Barnsley, I spotted a striking painting of the Kes poster. Billy Casper’s two-fingered salute covered the wall of a once-popular pub that is now boarded up.

It is almost 50 years since the late Barry Hines wrote A Kestrel for a Knave, the novel that inspired Ken Loach’s 1969 film, and it seems that the defiant, us-against-the-world, stick-it-to-the-man Yorkshireness he commemorated still resonates here. Almost two-thirds of the people of south Yorkshire voted to leave the EU, flicking two fingers up at what they saw as a London-based establishment, detached from life beyond the capital.

But whatever happened to Billy the unlikely lad, and the myriad other northern characters who were once the stars of stage and screen? Like the pitheads that dominated Casper’s tightly knit neighbourhood, they have disappeared from the landscape. The rot set in during the 1980s, when industries were destroyed and communities collapsed, a point eloquently made in Melvyn Bragg’s excellent radio series The Matter of the North.

Yorkshire historically acted as a counterweight to the dominance of southern elites, in sport as in politics and culture. Yet today, we rarely get to hear the voices of Barnsley, Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham. And the Yorkshire sporting powerhouse is no more – at least, not as we once knew it.

This should be a matter of national concern. The White Rose county is, after all, the home of the world’s oldest registered football club – Sheffield FC, formed in 1857 – and the first English team to win three successive League titles, Huddersfield Town, in the mid-1920s. Hull City are now Yorkshire’s lone representative in the Premier League.

Howard Wilkinson, the manager of Leeds United when they were crowned champions in 1992, the season before the Premier League was founded, lamented the passing of a less money-obsessed era. “My dad worked at Orgreave,” he said, “the scene of Mrs Thatcher’s greatest hour, bless her. You paid for putting an axe through what is a very strong culture of community and joint responsibility.”

The best-known scene in Loach’s film shows a football match in which Mr Sugden, the PE teacher, played by Brian Glover, comically assumes the role of Bobby Charlton. It was played out on the muddy school fields of Barnsley’s run-down Athersley estate. On a visit to his alma mater a few years ago, David Bradley, who played the scrawny 15-year-old Billy, showed me the goalposts that he had swung from as a reluctant goalkeeper. “You can still see the dint in the crossbar,” he said. When I spoke to him recently, Bradley enthused about his lifelong support for Barnsley FC. “But I’ve not been to the ground over the last season and a half,” he said. “I can’t afford it.”

Bradley is not alone. Many long-standing fans have been priced out. Barnsley is only a Championship side, but for their home encounter with Newcastle last October, their fans had to pay £30 for a ticket.

The English game is rooted in the northern, working-class communities that have borne the brunt of austerity over the past six years. The top leagues – like the EU – are perceived to be out of touch and skewed in favour of the moneyed elites.

Bradley, an ardent Remainer, despaired after the Brexit vote. “They did not know what they were doing. But I can understand why. There’s still a lot of neglect, a lot of deprivation in parts of Barnsley. They feel left behind because they have been left behind.”

It is true that there has been a feel-good factor in Yorkshire following the Rio Olympics; if the county were a country, it would have finished 17th in the international medals table. Yet while millions have been invested in “podium-level athletes”, in the team games that are most relevant to the lives of most Yorkshire folk – football, cricket and rugby league – there is a clear division between sport’s elites and its grass roots. While lucrative TV deals have enriched ruling bodies and top clubs, there has been a large decrease in the number of adults playing any sport in the four years since London staged the Games.

According to figures from Sport England, there are now 67,000 fewer people in Yorkshire involved in sport than there were in 2012. In Doncaster, to take a typical post-industrial White Rose town, there has been a 13 per cent drop in participation – compared with a 0.4 per cent decline nationally.

Attendances at rugby league, the region’s “national sport”, are falling. But cricket, in theory, is thriving, with Yorkshire winning the County Championship in 2014 and 2015. Yet Joe Root, the batsman and poster boy for this renaissance, plays far more games for his country than for his county and was rested from Yorkshire’s 2016 title decider against Middlesex.

“Root’s almost not a Yorkshire player nowadays,” said Stuart Rayner, whose book The War of the White Roses chronicles the club’s fortunes between 1968 and 1986. As a fan back then, I frequently watched Geoffrey Boycott and other local stars at Headingley. My favourite was the England bowler Chris Old, a gritty, defiant, unsung anti-hero in the Billy Casper mould.

When Old made his debut, 13 of the 17-strong Yorkshire squad were registered as working-class professionals. Half a century later, three of the five Yorkshiremen selec­ted for the last Ashes series – Root, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance – were privately educated. “The game of cricket now is played in public schools,” Old told me. “Top players are getting huge amounts of money, but the grass-roots game doesn’t seem to have benefited in any way.”

“In ten years’ time you won’t get a Joe Root,” Rayner said. “If you haven’t seen these top Yorkshire cricketers playing in your backyard and you haven’t got Sky, it will be difficult to get the whole cricket bug. So where is the next generation of Roots going to come from?” Or the next generation of Jessica Ennis-Hills? Three years ago, the Sheffield stadium where she trained and first discovered athletics was closed after cuts to local services.

This article first appeared in the 19 January 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The Trump era