Ed Miliband addresses an audience at 'The Backstage Centre' on May 27, 2014 in Purfleet. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Will there be a Labour reshuffle?

Some MPs are urging Miliband to follow Cameron's example and refresh his team.

Details have started to leak out about the long-planned Conservative reshuffle with employment minister Esther McVey and Treasury minister Nicky Morgan in line for promotion and Andrew Lansley (the frontrunner to become Britain's EU commissioner), George Young and Ken Clarke expected to depart. The changes are likely to be made next week following the Newark by-election and the D-Day commemorations in France.

But surprisingly few have asked whether Ed Miliband will also take the chance to refresh his team. As I've previously reported, some MPs are urging him to do so after briefing that some shadow cabinet ministers are not pulling their weight (to which they replied that they felt "shut out" from the election campaign). One recently told me: "I think Ed has been having to do too much of the heavy lifting on his own for some time. He should be getting more support from his shadow cabinet, more of them should be doing more to make the running and help push the Tories back." A Labour spokesman told me last week that it would be "inappropriate to comment" on the prospect of a reshuffle, which suggests that the option is on the table.

Yet while many in Labour can name MPs they would like to see promoted (Alan Johnson and shadow childcare minister Lucy Powell, Miliband's former deputy chief of staff, are two popular choices), they find it harder to name those who they think should make way. Miliband has already publicly guaranteed Ed Balls his job as shadow chancellor (the post that attracts most media speculation) and will be reluctant to move those who recieved new briefs just last October (there is widespread agreement at Westminster that Cameron's decision to avoid perpetual resuffles has been wise). But don't be surprised if he takes what is likely the final chance before the general election to change his line-up.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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