Ed Miliband has announced his minor re-shuffle following the departure of Peter Hain. He has clearly decided to hold off making any major changes at least until the Autumn. However, he has removed Liam Byrne from the role of coordinating the Policy Review, bringing in Jon Cruddas to perform this role, and appointing Angela Eagle to chair the National Policy Forum. Owen Smith, who backed Ed Miliband in the leadership election, has been moved from the Treasury team to act as shadow secretary of state for Wales.
The removal of Byrne is very welcome although not unexpected. There was clearly a major Blairite lobby to defend his position at the DWP. The appointment of Lord Adonis as an adviser on industrial policy looks like a further gesture to the Progress wing of the party.
Jon Cruddas, although he has followed a rather maverick path since backing David Miliband for the leadership (perhaps because he assumed he would be a certain winner and had been offered the role of party chair), will undoubtedly be much more open to progressive changes in policy direction than Byrne. Also the fact that he is not much of a House of Commons person is actually encouraging in this role.
Whilst it is very disappointing that, once again, the leader assumes the right to appoint the chair of the national policy forum (although last time there was at least a formal election by the forum), Angela Eagle will probably be an improvement on Peter Hain. Although she voted for David Miliband in the leadership election, she is undoubtedly an Ed-loyalist and, as the former chair of the LabOUR Commission on party democracy a few years ago, she has a record of supporting members involvement in policy making.
Completing the reshuffle, Catherine McKinnell joins the Treasury team replacing Owen Smith, and in another welcome development, Lisa Nandy replaces her as shadow minister for children & young people.