A Shadow Cabinet reshuffle worth having

Earlier this week Mark Ferguson of LabourList speculated that there might be a reshuffle of the shadow cabinet shortly.  This may well be a good thing, but would depend on which changes were made.

At present, of the full members of the Shadow Cabinet 16 are men and 10 are women. It is time at least fifty per cent of shadow cabinet are women, and rejection of the urgency of that ambition on the basis that members should be appointed on merit is nonsense.  The best of the front bench outside the shadow cabinet are women (such as Lisa Nandy on the left, Stella Creasy on the right) and the weakest performers in the current shadow cabinet are men. Continue reading

A shadow team with a new political balance

The full shadow team has now been published. It consists of 101 members of the Commons (out of  269 – more than the parliamentary party rules permit). It includes 23 of the 2010 intake – a new generation indeed (well, apart from Jack Dromey).  But there is a significant shift to the left:  49 supported Ed Miliband in the final round of leadership voting, 4 abstained (Abbott, Balls, Cooper and Harman), and 48 supported David Miliband. Not enough of a shift to the Left to arouse complaint (nor to satisfy those on the left of the party outside) but very significant. The front bench is more representative of the party than it has been for 20 years, and more so than the parliamentary party. With 37 women, it is also more female than the parliamentary party. Continue reading