Monday News Review

Ed’s “new generation”

Other new-intake MPs who have been given shadow ministerial roles include Michael Dugher, a former special adviser to Gordon Brown, at defence. John Woodcock, who also worked for Mr Brown at Downing Street, becomes a Shadow Transport Minister. Gloria De Piero, the ex-television journalist, is a Shadow Culture Minister. Luciana Berger, who was once wrongly romantically linked to Tony Blair’s son Euan, is a Shadow Energy Minister at 28. Mr Miliband said: “I am delighted with Labour’s front bench team. I am particularly pleased that I could bring in a new generation of talent, whilst also using the experience of a broad range of Labour MPs. – The Herald

The Labour leader said he was turning to a “new generation of talent” with shadow ministerial jobs for 12 MPs elected last May. The frontbenchers include Gloria De Piero, Luciana Berger, John Woodcock and Shabana Mahmood. Rising star Chuka Umunna becomes Mr Miliband’s personal aide. Diane Abbott is shadow minister for health, while MP John Spellar joins Yvette Cooper in foreign affairs. Gareth Thomas is in business and skills, while Vernon Coaker will again work with Ed Balls, on home affairs. Mr Miliband said: “This is a team which will robustly hold the Government to account.” – The Mirror

LABOUR leader Ed Miliband has appointed another Welsh MP to a shadow ministerial role. Wayne David, MP for Caerphilly, is to become the party’s new Shadow Minister for Europe. Mr David, a former MEP, was one of the eight Welsh MPs who initially missed out on a role in the Shadow Cabinet thanks to the party’s ballot system. The party’s MPs elect their colleagues to the front bench while in opposition, but despite eight Welsh MPs putting their names forward, none made the final cut. – Western Mail

Don’t underestimate AJ

It’s true that Johnson’s poor knowledge of economics will be his Achilles heel. Just as Osborne, a history graduate, struggled to land blows on Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, Johnson won’t be able catch his sparring partner out as much as he’d like. But Labour’s best economist, Ed Balls, would have been a toxic choice; the Tories were desperate for Ed Miliband to give him the job. Aside from his rather crucial weakness, Johnson will be a formidable opponent. His time as home secretary passed without a hitch, with none of the disasters that destroyed his predecessors, as did his swift ascent through the ministerial ranks. A former trade unionist, he is loved by the left, but is as Blairite as they come. – City AM

However, it may prove a shrewd move by Ed Miliband. Johnson has no economics grounding and this is bound to be a source of attack from the Tory front bench who will make much of any slips in his understanding of the brief. But he should not be underestimated. He has held five cabinet posts, including Work and Pensions and the Home Office. It makes him vastly more experienced in government than George Osborne, the Chancellor. A fascinating match will emerge from the contrasting backgrounds of the two men. Osborne, the privately educated Oxford graduate and heir to a fortune is a Tory party lifer. – The Scotsman

Who will fill Diane’s shoes?

How public-spirited of Diane Abbott to accept a shadow government job (public health) at the cost of her berth on BBC1’s This Week. The first show of betting sees Clare Short installed as 100-30 favourite to replace her as the Hylda Baker to Polly Portillo’s Arthur Mullard. Margaret Beckett and Hazel Blears next on 11-2, with Gisela Stuart quoted at 8-1 to add some Germanic muscle to Polly’s Hispanic charms. Former GMTV dolly bird Gloria Del Piero is a 12-1 shot, but the value of the field is the late Gwyneth Dunwoody, so much livelier dead than all the live contenders combined, at 33-1 “with a run”.

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