Thursday, 7 October 2010

Shadow cabinet election results: a break from New Labour?

Political Scrapbook has these results from the election for the new Labour shadow cabinet (check Scrapbook in case there any errors that need correcting). There are 19 places, 49 candidates stood, and the voting was by members of the Parliamnetary Labour Party.

Those results in full: Yvette Cooper (232), John Healey (192), Ed Balls (179), Angela Eagle (165), Andy Burnham (165), Alan Johnson (163), Douglas Alexander (160), Jim Murphy (160), Tessa Jowell (152), Caroline Flint (139), John Denham (129), Hilary Benn (128), Sadiq Khan (128), Mary Creah (119), Ann McKechin (117), Maria Eagle (107), Meg Hillier (106), Ivan Lewis (104), Liam Byrne (100)

My initial thoughts:

Who on earth is John Healey? (Google search here we come).

Does this mean Yvette Cooper will be strongly favoured (over Ed Balls) to become shadow chancellor, or does it make no diference that she comfortably topped the poll (and should we care?)

Do the strong votes for Burnham, Johnson, the loathsome Blairite Jim Murphy and others suggest that many Labour MPs are not exactly desperate for change? (yes it does).

Isn't it rather lovely that certain names - Straw, Miliband D, Darling, Brown N - aren't on the list, as they've chosen to stand down? (yes it is).

Is this a radical break from the last 13 years? (Clearly not, considering many of those names, but it's not complete continuity either).

Will I weep because Shaun Woodward and Ben Bradshaw failed to make it? (No I won't).

Also see:
New Labour's Top Ten Shits
Ed Miliband, Labour and the battles ahead

Updates (9.20pm): Healey, it turns out, has been shadow housing minister. There are no North East MPs in there at all - oh so different from the Blair years - and no Welsh MPs.

Paul Mason, Newsnight's economics editor, says on Twitter that it breaks down as 6 Ed Mili supporters, 6 "Brownites for Ed" and 7 David Mili supporters. I've also seen a report that 5 were Ed Mili backers and 10 were David Mili supporters. It's clearly a resolutely right-wing shadow cabinet, with Blairites like Tessa Jowell making it through with ease.

According to the Fabians' Next Left blog, only 8 are new - so there's a great deal of continuity in personnel. Next Left reports the newbies are: John Healey, Angela Eagle, Caroline Flint, Mary Creagh, Ann McKechin, Maria Eagle, Meg Hillier, Ivan Lewis. 11 of the 25 shadow cabinet posts are now taken by women (there are several members, like leader and deputy leader, who weren't elected as part of this process, hence the figure of 25).

Oh, and just realised I was (in my hurry) getting Jim Murphy mixed up with Jim Fitzpatrick, but looked him up and he's almost as bad! The list is a reminder that a) more Lab MPs voted for David M than for any other candidate, and b) almost no Lab MPs voted for Diane Abbott, the only remotely left-wing candidate. So no great surprises, though I imagine some people who cheered Mister Ed's election as a victory for the left will be rather deflated.

And anyone who hoped for a new epoch in foreign policy - following the new leader's declaration that war in Iraq was wrong - should note the fact Eric Joyce was unsuccessful. Joyce resigned from a junior post in defence last year because of his concerns about Afghanistan, and he's become a critic of both Trident and the occupation of Afghanistan. But no, he's failed to get in.


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