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8 October 2010

Shadow cabinet: who gets what job?

As Ed Miliband prepares to announce his top team, here's a guide to some likely appointments.

By George Eaton

The shadow cabinet results are in and, as Mehdi wrote last night, Ed Miliband is expected to unveil his top team today. Yvette Cooper, who finished top of the poll with 232 votes, 40 more than the second-placed John Healey, is in pole position for the shadow chancellorship, with Ed Balls the only other plausible candidate. Should she get the nod, Balls is likely to be handed the task of shadowing Vince Cable in the Business department, a role which will allow him to utilise his economic expertise. But there’s an outside chance that he’ll be named shadow home secretary or continue tormenting Michael Gove at Education.

Sadiq Khan, who served as Ed Miliband’s campaign manager and is the first minority ethnic MP to be elected to a shadow cabinet, is likely to be rewarded with the justice or home affairs portfolio. John Denham and Hilary Benn, the other key cabinet supporters of Miliband, will also expect promotions. Meanwhile, Peter Hain, who missed out on election by just three votes, is almost certain to be one of Ed Miliband’s five discretionary appointments. Miliband has already promised that a Welsh MP will become shadow secretary of state for Wales later today, after none of the eight Welsh candidates won election. Hain, who held the post in the last Labour government and was an early backer of Miliband, is the obvious choice.

Elsewhere, Andy Burnham, whose stock rose during the leadership contest, may be kept at Health, where he can lead the charge against the coalition’s NHS reforms. Douglas Alexander, who served as International Development Secretary in the last Labour government, is the obvious candidate for the foreign affairs portfolio. Liam Byrne, one of the few shadow cabinet members with private-sector experience, is said to want to take over as shadow business secretary, with works and pensions also a possibility. Finally, we can expect Alan Johnson, one of the few remaining “big beasts”, and Tessa Jowell to be handed significant jobs, not least as a gesture of respect to the party’s Blairite wing.

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