Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson resigns for “personal reasons”. He is the first big casualty of Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour party, and Ed Balls has replaced him, reports Charlie Edwards.
Ed Balls has replaced Alan Johnson as the Shadow Chancellor in Ed Miliband’s first cabinet reshuffle as leader of the Labour party. Sparked off by Alan Johnson’s resignation this morning, Balls’ wife, Yvette Cooper will take over from her husband as Shadow Home Secretary, and Douglas Alexander will take over as Shadow Foreign Secretary.
In a short statement this morning, Johnson said: “I have found it difficult to cope with these personal issues in my private life whilst carrying out an important frontbench role.”
He found time to congratulate Miliband on his leadership so far: “He is proving to be a formidable leader of the Labour Party and has shown me nothing but support and kindness.”
Ed Balls is relishing the opportunity to oversee the party’s economic portfolio, having been overlooked for the role in the autumn.
Ed Balls said: “It is a great honour to be appointed to this post, and to succeed my friend and colleague Alan Johnson whose commitment to social justice and service to the Labour Party is second to none.
“Over the past few months, Alan and Ed have set out a clear direction on economic policy and challenged the Conservative-led Government’s false claim that our investment in schools, hospitals and police, rather than the global financial crisis, caused the deficit.
“Our task ahead is to take on George Osborne and David Cameron’s decision to cut too far and too fast, recklessly putting jobs and growth at risk. We will hold them to account for the decisions they have taken, from raising VAT to scrapping the Future Jobs Fund and education maintenance allowances.
“We will set out to the public that there is an alternative: a fair economy which puts jobs and growth first.
“I look forward to taking on and winning this argument.”
Liam Byrne has become the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary. In three and a half months, Labour have been accused of having “a blank sheet of paper” on the economy.
Labour’s recent by-election victory in Oldham East & Saddleworth was heralded as a ‘rejection of the coalition’s cuts agenda’ according to Ed Miliband.