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Bolingbroke's Blog

New eyes and ears for Ed

Posted on May 24, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Ed Milband has made some small, but significant, changes to his front bench team.  The Labour press notice states:


'Following the resignation for Gordon Banks MP as a front bench spokesperson in the BIS team to concentrate on his constituency, Ed Miliband MP has today appointed Chuka Umunna MP to Shadow Minister for Business & Industry.

Michael Dugher MP will take up the post as Ed Miliband’s PPS, alongside Anne McGuire MP. Michael will remain a member of the Shadow Front Bench Defence team until the conclusion of the defence procurement policy review later in the year.'

The move is interesting, with the high-profile new MP Chuka Umunna's move (technically a promotion) being seen by some as a snub.  The Leader's PPS is supposed to be his 'eyes and ears' in the Parliamentary Party, as well as a close political aide.  Given this job description it was rather odd for a new MP, still learning the ropes at Westminster, to have been appointed in the first place.  Also, a 'rising star' like Umunna was perhaps more likely to stoke envy and resentment amongst backbenchers than smooth their feathers.   In that respect, his move to a frontbench job where he can prove himself should be good for his career in the long term.

His replacement, Michael Dugher, whilst on paper also a new MP, is an old hand at Westminster, having been a Special Adviser to several Labour Ministers, before becoming Chief Political Spokesman to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.  This history might be used against him by Labour's opponents, but for Ed Miliband, having the right person in this sensitive post is the most important thing, and there seems to be agreement he has now strengthened his team.  

Categories: Parliament, Shadow Cabinet

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