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Harman pre-empts return to shadow cabinet elections by announcing reshuffle

shadow cabinetHarriet Harman has this morning announced a new Shadow Cabinet team before the first meeting of the new parliamentary party due this evening.

She is, of course, entitled to do so according to the rules of the parliamentary party. These were amended four years ago at the request of the then leader, Ed Miliband, to abolish shadow cabinet elections which had long taken place annually when the party was in opposition – a move which the same MPs had rejected only a year earlier.

However, that does not mean that is politically acceptable. The truth is that Ed made that move in order to shore up his own support within the shadow cabinet (something he never really succeeded in doing in practice). In the current situation with an acting leader who is herself not seeking re-election and has not faced an election since she was narrowly elected as deputy to Gordon Brown, this will leave the shadow cabinet with a weak mandate for developing the attack on Tory proposals which will be needed from the moment parliament re-assmbles.

A shadow cabinet election would have provided some sort of mandate, at least on behalf of the parliamentary party. The reality is that it is not only party members that have not had a real voice restored in the party’s internal decision-making —  MPs (other than those who owe their positions to the leader) have also lacked proper influence.

Nor has this reshuffle been simply the minimum required to fill gaps left by defeated MPs – pressure was also placed on some members to retire though not always with success. Let us hope that this will serve as yet another lesson that abandoning democratic accountability for the sake of short term political advantage

The members appointed by the acting leader are as follows:

Leader of the Opposition and Acting Leader of the Labour Party
Harriet Harman MP

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chris Leslie MP

Shadow Foreign Secretary
Hilary Benn MP

Shadow Home Secretary
Yvette Cooper MP

Shadow Lord Chancellor, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

Lord Falconer of Thoroton

Opposition Chief Whip

Rosie Winterton MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Health

Andy Burnham MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Chuka Umunna MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Rachel Reeves MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Education
Tristram Hunt MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

Vernon Coaker MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Emma Reynolds MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Caroline Flint MP

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and Chair of the National Policy Forum

Angela Eagle MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Transport

Michael Dugher MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Ivan Lewis MP

Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

Mary Creagh MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland

Ian Murray MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Wales 
Owen Smith MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Maria Eagle MP

Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office

Lucy Powell MP

Shadow Minister without Portfolio and Deputy Party Chair
Jon Trickett MP

Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities

Gloria De Piero MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Chris Bryant MP

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Shabana Mahmood MP

Shadow Leader of the House of Lords

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Lords Chief Whip
Lord Bassam of Brighton

Also attending Shadow Cabinet:

Shadow Minister for Care and Older People
Liz Kendall MP

Shadow Attorney General
Lord Bach


  1. Robert says:

    Interesting period lets wait to see which Progress drone becomes leader.

  2. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    What a bunch of tossers.

    Vile as the Tories indisputably are; I think will be a long long time before anyone votes Labor again.

    1. Robert says:

      You maybe right but will they vote labour, depends on where labour now goes and who they pretend to be.

  3. Sandra Crawford says:

    Chris Leslie thinks that Lord Adair Turners advice for Overt Monetary Finance would cause inflation.

    With bank debt at 2 trillion causing debt deflation, a slump in output, supermarkets losing profits because of poverty, a slump in output, a massive trade deficit that requires a massive boost of sovereign currency issue, I would say he is in the neoliberal mold, not the Labour one, and probably not that competent.

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