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20 November 2010

Miliband suffers his first resignation

Eric Joyce resigns from the frontbench after being found guilty of drink-driving.

By George Eaton

With all eyes on Lord Young, Ed Miliband’s first frontbench resignation has received surprisingly little attention. Eric Joyce, who had been serving as shadow Northern Ireland minister, stepped down after being found guilty of drink-driving.

The former army major has had a more interesting political trajectory than most. For years he was one of the most hawkish Labour backbenchers and an outspoken supporter of the “war on terror” and the invasion of Iraq. But he resigned in 2009 as a parliamentary aide over the government’s Afghanistan strategy, warning that the public would not accept for “much longer that our losses can be justified by simply referring to the risk of greater terrorism on our streets”.

The fact that Joyce has resigned voluntarily means that there isn’t much for the Tories to get their teeth into. But had it not been for Young and his “never had it so good” gaffe, one suspects that this affair would have been a lot more damaging for Labour.

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