Alan Johnson has just announced his resignation as shadow chancellor “for personal reasons”. After a strong start to 2011, Ed Miliband now faces the biggest crisis of his leadership. Ed Balls has been named as Johnson’s replacement, with Yvette Cooper taking over from her husband as shadow home secretary. Douglas Alexander will replace Cooper as shadow foreign secretary.
Below is the full text of Johnson’s statement:
I have decided to resign from the shadow cabinet for personal reasons to do with my family. I have found it difficult to cope with these personal issues in my private life whilst carrying out an important front-bench role.
I am grateful to Ed Miliband for giving me the opportunity to serve as shadow chancellor of the exchequer. He is proving to be a formidable leader of the Labour Party and has shown me nothing but support and kindness.
My time in parliament will now be dedicated to serving my constituents and supporting the Labour Party. I will make no further comment about this matter.
After Johnson’s recent political troubles, his decision to stand down comes as no surprise. His public disagreements with Ed Miliband over the 50p tax rate and the graduate tax damaged his cause from the start. Then, in quick succession, he failed to name the employers’ rate of National Insurance, mistakenly suggested that VAT applied to food and appeared unsure of his own party’s deficit reduction plan.
He was swiftly identified by the Tories as the weak link in Labour’s armoury and was ridiculed by David Cameron at PMQs (Johnson was a notable absence this week). The man who was once spoken of as a future Labour leader became the laughing stock of Westminster.
Yet everything we’re hearing suggests the decision was taken for purely personal reasons. There is nothing to suggest he was pushed out by Ed Miliband, who attempted to persuade him to stay. We can expect the Tories to focus on the appointment of Balls, the true “son of Brown”, rather than the departure of Johnson.
Below is the new shadow cabinet.
Leader of the Opposition
Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Rt Hon Ed Balls MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP
Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department and Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities
Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP
Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Election Co-ordinator
Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP
Shadow Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice (with responsibility for political and constitutional reform)
Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (with responsibility for the policy review)
Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
Rt Hon John Denham MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Rt Hon John Healey MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Angela Eagle MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Meg Hillier MP
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
Maria Eagle MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mary Creagh MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Rt Hon Shaun Woodward MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Ann McKechin MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
Rt Hon Peter Hain MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Ivan Lewis MP
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
Rt Hon Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Olympics
Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP
Lords Chief Whip
Rt Hon Lord Bassam of Brighton
Shadow Attorney General
Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Ashtal QC