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Miliband to reshuffle top team

Ed Miliband is to reshuffle his Labour top team bringing new MPs from the intake of 2010 into the shadow cabinet for the first time.

Party sources said there would be a "few" MPs elected for the first time last year among the appointments as the Labour leader seeks to refresh his frontbench line-up.

Mr Miliband will for the first time have a completely free hand following a rule change which means the shadow cabinet is no longer elected by Labour MPs.

Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott has urged him to take the opportunity to get rid of under-performing frontbenchers, saying there were some who were "undoubtedly not carrying their weight".

The way was cleared for a major overhaul with the announcement last night that shadow business secretary John Denham and shadow health secretary John Healey were standing down. It was unclear whether there were others facing the sack.

Among the newcomers strongly tipped for promotion is Rachel Reeves who has impressed with her performance since being appointed shadow pensions minister.

There is speculation that the former Bank of England economist could be given the key role of shadow chief secretary to the treasury.

However, suggestions of a possible return for former cabinet "big beasts" Alan Johnson and Lord Falconer were being played down at Westminster.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander are among the party heavyweights expected to retain their current portfolios.

Of those who are going, Mr Denham will serve as unpaid parliamentary private secretary to Mr Miliband in a signal of his continuing loyalty to the leadership.

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