Johnson beats Cooper and Balls to shadow chancellor
Ed Miliband goes for unity and avoids choosing between Labour’s power couple
Yvette Cooper and her husband Ed Balls, who had been favourites to be handed the job of shadow chancellor after coming first and third respectively in Labour's shadow cabinet poll, have been beaten to the position by Alan Johnson.
Labour leader Ed Miliband's decision is a surprise, but there is some logic to it. Johnson supported Miliband's brother David in the recent leadership contest, and his appointment will be seen as an attempt to unite the party. The other advantage is that Johnson, a former home secretary, has shown no great enthusiasm for the finance portfolio before, which should allow Miliband to impose his own economic policy on the party.
Cooper, meanwhile, will have to make do with the job of shadow foreign secretary, while her husband Balls - who has undoubted economic experience because of his years as Gordon Brown's adviser - will be shadow home secretary, an appointment he professed to be "surprised" about.
Miliband had to choose most of his shadow cabinet from a list of 19 Labour MPs who topped a poll of shadow cabinet candidates.
John Healey came second in the vote after Cooper, and his reward is shadow health secretary. Andy Burnham, who Miliband beat in the leadership contest, will look after education.
Sadiq Khan, who ran Miliband's leadership campaign, is rewarded with the post of shadow justice secretary. He will also shadow deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.
Among the eight women voted into the shadow cabinet, Caroline Flint, who quit Gordon Brown's cabinet in protest at his treatment of women, is shadow communities and local government secretary. Twin sisters Maria and Angela Eagle will respectively shadow transport and chief secretary to the Treasury.
Peter Hain and Shaun Woodward, although they failed to make the cut in the shadow cabinet poll, have nonetheless been made shadow Welsh and Irish secretaries.
Comments are now closed on this article