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Cooper heads shadow cabinet vote

The members of Ed Miliband's new shadow cabinet have been announced amid intense speculation over who will scoop the top jobs.

Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls were both successful in the secret ballot of Labour's Parliamentary Party, and the married couple are thought to be vying for the coveted shadow chancellor role.

Other senior figures successfully returned include former Cabinet ministers Alan Johnson, Andy Burnham and Jim Murphy, along with Mr Miliband's leadership campaign manager Sadiq Khan.

But there were also losers - such as ex-Welsh Secretary Peter Hain, former Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw and ex-Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward - who did not make the 19-strong list.

And Diane Abbott, who stood against Mr Miliband in the leadership contest, also missed out.

Under Labour rules, its MPs vote to decide who should be in the shadow cabinet when the party is in opposition.

A minimum quota of six women was imposed as part of efforts to promote equality. The party overshot that figure, returning eight in total - including Caroline Flint, who quit Gordon Brown's government in 2008 complaining that female ministers were being treated as "window dressing".

Sisters Angela and Maria Eagle have been promoted to the top team, as have Meg Hillier and Ann McKechin. Ex-Cabinet Office minister Tessa Jowell retains her status, while Mary Creagh enters the shadow cabinet despite never having served on the front bench.

Mr Miliband has signalled that he will take his time finalising the line-up of his team, with no formal appointments expected until Friday morning.

But Ms Cooper is looking a near-certainty to take on the Treasury portfolio after party sources confirmed she had topped the ballot. Former housing minister John Healey came in a creditable second, while Mr Balls was third.


From Belfast Telegraph