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Reshuffle: Ed emerges strengthened, slightly

Taken as a whole, the reshuffle could have been worse. Rumours about the reappearance of Lords Falconer and Adonis and Alan Johnson didn’t materialise and it looks like Ed Miliband eventually recognised the need to focus on the balance of his support. The Blairites have taken a slight knock and Ed has more people inside who will back him in a challenge. The number of MPs voting for him last year have risen from six to 10 (16 if you add non-voting members, peers and Harrriet Harman who abstained as acting Leader), those who voted for his brother are down from eleven to ten (plus non-voting Kendall).

How people voted last year is an imperfect guide, however. The Blairites are weakened by shifts in responsibility too: Tessa Jowell, Ivan Lewis, Caroline Flint all have reason for some discomfort. Stephen Twigg was bound to appear sooner or later. The greatest disappointment is that Liam Byrne kept his policy review role and the work and pensions portfolio (although Jon Trickett, the most encouraging promotion, has responsibility for public sector pensions). The use of the title “Party Chair” and the addition of a deputy is a wholly unwelcome extension of the Leader’s claim to manage the party, although Harman and Watson will no doubt be benevolent in their roles.

A more important aspect of the reshuffle is where it puts the Shadow Cabinet on policy issues and on the economy and class issues in particular. Angela Eagle, in spite of her vote for David Miliband, should probably be seen as being on the centre-left of the shadow cabinet and it is disappointing that she has not been given a policy job. On the other hand, Rachel Reeves is very close to Progress.

Tom Watson, Michael Dugher and Vernon Coaker are all on the right, but better on class issues and, having voted for Ed Balls, may be better on the economy too — long live the tensions between Labour First and Progress! The Balls/Cooper camp is also strengthened by this reshuffle and that is significant if the two Eds can maintain their effective alliance against potential challenges from Progress.

The full details of the Shadow Cabinet are:

Harriet Harman (Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, Party Chair and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport)

Ed Balls (Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer)

Douglas Alexander (Shadow Foreign Secretary)

Yvette Cooper (Shadow Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities)

Sadiq Khan (Shadow Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)

Rosie Winterton (Shadow Chief Whip)

Andy Burnham (Shadow Secretary of State for Health)

Stephen Twigg (Shadow Secretary of State for Education )

Chuka Umunna (Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Jim Murphy (Shadow Secretary of State for Defence)

Hilary Benn (Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)

Angela Eagle (Shadow Leader of the House of Commons)

Caroline Flint (Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change)

Rachel Reeves (Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury)

Tessa Jowell (Shadow Minister for London and the Olympics)

Maria Eagle (Shadow Secretary of State for Transport)

Liam Byrne (Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Policy Review Co-ordinator)

Ivan Lewis (Shadow Secretary of State for International Development)

Mary Creagh (Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Jon Trickett (Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office)

Tom Watson (Labour Party Deputy Chair and Campaign Coordinator)

Vernon Coaker (Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland)

Margaret Curran (Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland)

Peter Hain (Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and Chair of the National Policy Forum)

Baroness Royall  (Shadow Leader of the House of Lords)

Lord Bassam  (Lords Chief Whip)

Also attending Shadow Cabinet:

Liz Kendall (Shadow Minister for Care and Older People)

Michael Dugher (Shadow Minister without Portfolio – Cabinet Office)

Emily Thornberry (Shadow Attorney General)

Lord Stewart Wood (Shadow Minister without Portfolio – Cabinet Office)

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