5.08pm: Ian Austin and Angela Smith will be Brown’s Parliamentary Private Secretaries.
5.06pm: Baroness Scotland is the new Attorney General, and Lord Grocott is Lords Chief Whip and Captain of the Gentlemen at Arms
4.57pm: As well as having a Minister for the North, ministers have been appointed to adopt regions. Caroline Flint and Liam Byrne are amongst those given roles.
3.34pm: Nick Brown is said to be Deputy Chief Whip and…. Minister for the North!
1.55pm: Andy Burnham is Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Beverley "Visa" Hughes takes charge of Children and Youth Justice.
1.39pm: Mark Malloch Brown joins the FCO as a junior minister for the small matters of Africa, Asia and the United Nations. This is a telling appointment, because as Kofi Annan’s former deputy at the UN he was a strong critic of the US. He spoke at the last Conservative conference about global poverty.
1.36pm: Tessa Jowell has lost her Cabinet status but retains responsibility for the Olympics.
1.30pm: CCHQ are on the ball – they’ve already released a dossier of the failings of most of the new Cabinet members. Click continue on this post to read it.
1.21pm: Ed Miliband will join his brother at Cabinet meetings, having responsibility for the Cabinet Office.
1.17pm: John Denham is back in the Government with Innovations, Universities and Skills.
1.14pm: Yvette Cooper has Housing
1.11pm: Tory defector Shaun Woodward has been appointed Northern Ireland Secretary.
12.54am: Question marks remain over Yvette Cooper, Stephen Timms and Tessa Jowell. Housing, Northern Ireland, Europe and The Duchy of Lancaster are amongst the last positions up for grabs.
12.25am: More women appointees – Baroness Scotland is new Attorney General and Baroness Ashton is new Leader of the Lords.
12.20am: Des Browne stays on at Defence, and also takes on Scotland. Adam Boulton says 20 of 22 positions have changed hands.
12.17am: Jack Straw confirmed as the Justice Secretary
12.10am: Baroness Williams talking to the BBC confirms that she hasn’t been offered a ministerial position, instead being asked to take up some sort of unpaid, unwhipped, advisory role on WMD – subject to Menzies Campbell’s approval.
12.05am: Ed Balls gets one half of the former education portfolio – Schools & Children
11.54am: Hilary Benn gets the Environment portfolio.
11.52am: Confirmation of this morning’s speculation that Geoff Hoon will get Chief Whip and Harriet Harman Leader of the House. Will there be a Deputy Prime Minister?
11.49am: Hazel Blears takes up Ruth Kelly’s former role as Communities and Loval Government Secretary, another Blairite kept in.
11.36am: John Hutton is the new Trade and Industry Secretary. Rumours that the DTI will be scrapped look less likely now, although Sky are calling him Business and Enterprise Secretary.
11.33am: Jacqui Smith’s big promotion to the Home Office has been confirmed by the BBC.
CCHQ’s pre-prepared dossier:
ALISTAIR DARLING – Chancellor of the Exchequer
- Responsible for 2,500 Post Office Closures. Darling is
responsible for the disintegration of the country’s Post Office
network. He recently announced the closure of 2,500 Post Offices over
the next two years (The Post Office Network: Government response to
public Consultation, DTI, May 2007).
- Responsible for Pensions Grab. As Gordon Brown’s Chief Secretary
to the Treasury in 1997, Alistair Darling helped develop and defend the
calamitous £100 billion pension tax raid. Shortly after the policy was
announced, Darling said misleadingly: ‘The steps that the Government
are taking will stand this country and its economy in good stead in the
years to come’ (Hansard, 9 Jul 1997, Column 976).
- Responsible for Pitiful 75p Rise for Pensioners. As Secretary of
State for Work and Pensions in 1999, Darling took the decision that
state pensions would only go up by 75p during the next year. Age
Concern called this ‘derisory’ and a handicapped pensioner chained
herself to the railings outside Labour Party headquarters as a protest
about this miserly rise (Financial Times, 10 November 1999).
- Admission of Failure. When asked recently what he thought were
the greatest mistakes of the last ten years, Gordon Brown said: ‘I
think the 75p pension rise, we could have done that far better’ (BBC
TV, Sunday AM, 13 May 2007).
- Yesterday’s Man. Darling has been in the Cabinet continuously
since 1997. He has previously held the posts of Chief Secretary to the
Treasury, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Social Security),
Secretary of State for Transport, and Secretary of State for Trade and
- Member of Brown’s Clique. Brown has been close to Darling since
they worked together on the Shadow Treasury team from 1992 to 1997.
Darling later worked under Brown as a minister at the Treasury, where
he was described as ‘Brown’s right-hand man’ (The Herald, 7 July 1998).
ED BALLS – Minister for Schools and Children
- Responsible for Pensions Grab. Balls was Chief Economic Adviser
to Gordon Brown in 1997 when the fateful decision was made to abolish
the dividend tax credits for pension funds. This has taken an estimated
£100 billion out of pension funds (The Sunday Telegraph, 15 October
- Caught out by the CBI. Balls publicly defended the policy even
when it was revealed that Treasury officials had advised against it. He
went so far as to claim that the policy had been advocated by the CBI
(BBC R4, Today, 30 March 2007). The Director-General of the CBI, Sir
Richard Lambert, completely denied this accusation, saying: ‘This is a
convenient bit of spin by the Treasury. There is no record of any kind
that we lobbied for this’ (Sir Richard Lambert, Director-General, CBI,
The Guardian, 2 April 2007).
- Admission of Failure. Balls said last year: ‘after nine years,
governing is getting more difficult. We have raised expectations – and
not always met them. Blaming the past is not as easy as it was a decade
ago. And we know too that there have been difficulties and
disappointments and decisions which have divided progressive opinion in
our country’ (Ed Balls, Speech at Compass conference, 9 June 2006).
- Yesterday’s Man. Balls has worked for the Labour Party since 1994 and has the same role at the Treasury since 1997.
- Member of Brown’s Clique. Balls has been Brown’s closest
political ally since he was appointed as his economic adviser in 1994.
He has worked alongside Brown in the Treasury for the full ten years of
this Labour government. Officials at the Treasury admit that they ‘had
to go to Ed Balls to find out what the Chancellor was really thinking’
(Senior Civil Servant, Dispatches, Channel 4, 14 May 2007).
DOUGLAS ALEXANDER – Secretary of State for International Development
- Responsible for Scottish Elections Fiasco. As Secretary of State
for Scotland, Alexander was responsible for the organisation of the
recent Scottish elections in which 3.5 per cent of the ballots were
disqualified. This is an unprecedented number for an election in the
United Kingdom (The Daily Telegraph, 10 May 2007). The Scotsman later
revealed that Alexander had received clear advice that the ballot
papers would confuse electors (The Scotsman, 8 May 2007). He was forced
to come before Parliament, where he refused to apologise for the
mistakes made and to accept an independent inquiry into the election
arrangements (The Guardian, 9 May 2007).
- Secret Plans for National Road Pricing. Alexander recently
published a Draft Transport Bill that was conceived as a secret plan to
‘pave the way’ for national road pricing. A letter from Alexander to
the Prime Minister leaked to The Sunday Times revealed that he intended
for the draft Bill to ‘help to pave the way for a national road pricing
scheme in the medium to long term’ (The Sunday Times, 6 August 2006).
- Yesterday’s Man. Alexander has worked for the Labour Party for
the majority of his working life. He started working for the Party in
1990, was elected as an MP in 1997, ran the 2001 general election
campaign, and has held major ministerial positions since then.
- Member of Brown’s Clique. Alexander was born in Renfrewshire,
Scotland and his father was a Church of Scotland Minister. He studied
history at Edinburgh University, where his tutor was Paul Addison, who
also tutored Gordon Brown (The Herald, 19 May 1995). He worked as a
researcher and speechwriter to Brown from 1990 to 1993. He was labelled
as a ‘Brownite’ as early as 1997, when Brown handpicked him for the
seat of Paisley South (Scotland on Sunday, 5 October 1997).
YVETTE COOPER – Housing Minister
- Responsible for Home Information Packs Debacle. As Housing
Minister, Cooper was responsible for the Government’s attempt to
introduce Home Information Packs. The introduction of HIPs went against
the independent advice of both the Royal Institute of Chartered
Surveyors and the Law Society. When the High Court passed a ruling
against the HIPs, Cooper was forced into a humiliating climbdown and
delayed their introduction.
- Admission of Failure. Ruth Kelly, Cooper’s senior at the
Department for Communities and Local Government, wanted Cooper to scale
down the measures, but Cooper refused and even threatened to resign
over the issue (The Times, 17 May 2007). However, when the Government
was forced to delay the introduction, it was Kelly, not Cooper, who
made the humiliating statement to Parliament.
- Yesterday’s Woman. Cooper has held ministerial posts in this
Government since 1999. She worked for both Gordon Brown and John Smith
in the early 1990s.
- Member of Brown’s Clique. Cooper worked as Brown’s economic
researcher. She is married to Ed Balls, Brown’s former Chief Economic
Adviser, and has been described as a ‘close friend of the Brown family’
(BBC News online, 30 November 2006).
DAVID MILIBAND – Foreign Secretary
- Responsible for Botched Nuclear Consultation. The High Court
found that Miliband’s consultation on building new nuclear power
stations – carried out during 2006 – had been ‘manifestly inadequate’,
‘misleading’, ‘seriously flawed’ and ‘procedurally unfair.’ (The Times,
Law Reports, 20 February 2007). Renewable energy generation stands at
just under 2 per cent of our total energy generation , one of the
lowest rates in the world (UK Energy in Brief, DTI, July 2006). The
Government’s original target was 5 per cent by 2003 (New and renewable
energy – Prospects for the 21st century, Department of Trade and
- Responsible for Chaos in the Rural Payments Agency. Miliband has
presided over huge delays in payments to farmers. Farmers were promised
that CAP payments for 2005 would begin in February 2006, with 96 per
cent of payments paid by the end of March 2006. However, by mid-April
2006, just £362 million of the £1.6 billion had been paid. Even when
payments began, chaos continued: almost a third of the payments for
2005 proved to be incorrect (David Miliband, Oral Statement, 22
- Yesterday’s Man. Miliband has been intimately involved with this
Government since 1997. He was Head of Policy at Downing Street and has
held several major ministerial positions.
JAMES PURNELL – Secretary for State for Culture, Media and Sport
- Responsible for Dome. While he was a Special Adviser to Tony
Blair on Culture, Media and Sport from 1997 to 2001, Purnell was
intimately involved in the Millennium Dome. He later wrote: ‘the last
time I heard those arguments [abour cost], I was listening to ministers
argue about whether we should build the Millennium Dome’ (The Times, 29
- ‘Olympics will be Wrong for London’. Purnell launched the
strongest criticism of the Olympics by any politician yet, saying: ‘it
would be wrong for London and for the rest of Britain’. He also
compared the Olympics to his involvement in the Dome, saying: ‘The
question is the same as the Dome – is it the best way of spending that
money? If not, any government decision could be opposed by those saying
well, if you hadn’t bid for the Olympics … just as they did with the
Dome. Instead of staging the Olympics, we could use the money to build
more than 2,000 primary schools’ (The Times, 29 November 2003).
- Admission of Failure. As Minister of State for Pensions, Purnell
accepted the criticisms of the Government’s policy that led to the loss
of 125,000 personal pension schemes, when he told Saga Magazine: ‘Many
pension victims were planning to [campaign] at the Labour Party
conference this September. I understand why they are campaigning. If I
was in their position I would be too’ (Saga Magazine, October 2006).
- Yesterday’s Man. Purnell has spent the great majority of his
working life in Labour Party. He started working for Blair in the 1980s
and was later a Special Adviser in Downing Street. Since 2001, he has
held several ministerial positions.
- Member of Brown’s Clique. Purnell is part of the ‘Primrose Hill
gang’ that includes leading Brownites such as Douglas Alexander and Ed
Miliband (The Daily Telegraph, 6 January 2006). He attended Oxford
University at the same time as Yvette Cooper (The Guardian, 23 May
2005) and was a member of the ‘Demon Eyes’ football team with fellow
Brownites, such as Ed Balls (The Times, 9 July 1999).
JACK STRAW – Secretary of State for Justice
- Presided over Huge Increases in Crime. Jack Straw is the
longest-serving Home Secretary under this Labour government. By the
time he left the Home Office, violent crime had increased by 21 per
cent and an extra 415,935 crimes were recorded annually (Home Office,
Crime in England and Wales 2005/06, July 2006, Table 2.04).
- Responsible for Claims About WMD. As Foreign Secretary in 2003,
Straw made the case for the invasion of Iraq. He said in a statement to
Parliament after the invasion: ‘As for Iraq’s programmes to develop
chemical and biological weapons – to develop weapons of mass
destruction – we know that those programmes existed’ (Hansard, 10 April
2003, Col. 405).
- Yesterday’s Man. Jack Straw is one of the very few members of
Cabinet, along with Alistair Darling, who has served continuously as a
member of top table since 1997. He has been Home Secretary, Foreign
Secretary, and Leader of the House.
- Member of Brown’s Clique. Straw worked with Brown on the Shadow
Treasury team as early as 1987. He continued his close relationship as
Brown as a key New Labour figure during the early 1990s. He served with
Brown for ten years as a member of Blair’s Cabinet. This year, he has
served as Brown’s campaign manager and wrote a letter to Labour MPs
encouraging them to nominate Brown for leader of the Labour Party (The
Daily Telegraph, 27 March 2007).
JACQUI SMITH – Home Secretary
- Hypocrisy Over NHS. Smith supported the Government’s NHS cuts,
but has joined protesters several times in their campaign to save
maternity services at the Alexandra hospital in Redditch, including
handing a 16,000 signature petition to hospital chiefs (The Guardian,
29 December 2006).
- Yesterday’s Woman. Jacqui Smith has held ministerial positions in this government since 1999.
DES BROWNE – Defence Secretary
- Responsible for Fiasco of Servicemen Selling Stories. Browne
approved the decision for the marines captured by Iran to sell their
stories to the media (BBC TV, 16 April 2007).
- Admission of Failure. Browne gave a televised statement in which
he said: ‘although this was a navy decision I have to take
responsibility for it, and I don’t seek to hide behind the fact that
the Navy made the decision. Ultimately, the buck stops here’ (BBC TV,
16 April 2007). He was brought to Parliament to account for this
failure and said: ‘I have expressed a degree of regret that can be
equated with an apology and if [the Shadow Defence Secretary] wants me
to say “sorry” then I am happy to say sorry’ (Hansard, 16 April 2007,
- Yesterday’s Man. Browne has been a minister since 2001. He has
previously Gordon’s deputy at the Treasury as Chief Secretary to the
- Member of Brown’s Clique. Browne has been close to Brown since
they worked together at the Treasury. He has accompanied Brown on his
visits to Afghanistan and Iraq.
PETER HAIN – Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
- Involved in Deal to Give up British Sovereignty in Gibraltar.
Hain was a vocal advocate of joint Spanish-British control of Gibraltar
(BBC News, 9 November 2001).
- Admission of Failure. Hain has frequently criticised the Labour
government’s record during his deputy leadership campaign. He said
recently ‘A month from now Labour will have a new leader and frankly we
all need to up our game. We’ve been playing like the reserves recently.
In a host of areas we’ve allowed the Tories to make the running’ (Peter
Hain, PA News, 27 May 2007).
- Yesterday’s Man. Hain has been a minister throughout this Labour government. He has been in the Cabinet since 2002.
ED MILIBAND – Cabinet Office Minister
- Responsible for Failure to Meet Targets on Child Poverty. As
Minister of the Third Sector, Ed Miliband is responsible for the
involvement of voluntary sector in public services, with particular
emphasis on tackling entrenched poverty.
- Admission of Failure. Miliband said recently at a charity
conference on poverty ‘The fall in child poverty is short of the target
we set ourselves, it’s true’ (Speech at Barnardo’s annual conference,
20 March 2007).
- Yesterday’s Man. Miliband has worked for the Labour Party since
the early 1990s and has served in Government since 1997. He served as
an economic adviser in the Treasury for eight years.
- Member of Brown’s Clique. Miliband started working for Brown in
the early 1990s and later worked for him at Treasury as a Special
Adviser and Economic Adviser. He has been present at meetings at
Downing Street since early 2006 to discuss the handover from Blair to
Brown (New Statesman, 20 March 2006). Brown handpicked Miliband for the
safe seat of Doncaster North in the 2005 election (The Daily Telegraph,
21 March 2005).
HARRIET HARMAN – Leader of the House
- Responsible for Cutting Benefits for Lone Parents. As Secretary
of State for Social Security, Harman caused a minor rebellion on the
backbenches when she announced cuts in benefits for single parents of
over £10 per week (The Times, 3 December 1997). Protestors were dragged
out of the Commons’ public gallery shouting ‘you should be ashamed of
yourself’ (The Herald, 2 December 1997).
- Admission of Failure. Harman was sacked from the Cabinet just one year after her appointment in 1997.
- Double U-Turn on Iraq. Harman voted for the war, then declared
that it was a ‘mistake’ and the Government should apologise (BBC TV,
Newsnight, 29 May 2007). But the day after she was appointed as
Labour’s deputy leader, she backtracked and falsely claimed she had
never called for an apology at all (BBC R4, Today, 25 June 2007).
- Yesterday’s Woman. Harman has been an MP since 1982, she has
already been in the Cabinet and served in several major ministerial
- Member of Brown’s Clique. Brown is widely credited with securing
Harman’s appointment as Secretary of State for, over Blair’s preferred
candidate, Frank Field (The Guardian, 19 March 2001). Harman worked
directly with Brown on the Opposition Treasury team in the 1990s.
ANDY BURNHAM – Chief Secretary to the Treasury
- Responsible for NHS Cutbacks and Closures. Andy Burnham has been
the Minister of State at the Department of Health responsible for
‘delivery and reform’. This reform programme has led to the £1.3
billion gross financial deficit in the NHS last year (Department of
Health, 20 February 2007) – the worst financial performance in the
history of the NHS – and the closure or cutback of 23 Accident and
Emergency departments and 43 maternity units.
- Admission of Failure – ‘NHS Values Up For Grabs’. Burnham
recently admitted the failings of his own reform programme when he
wrote in a report to the Secretary of State for Health, Patricia
Hewitt: ‘There is a feeling of nervousness among NHS staff about being
on a journey without knowing where the end point is … Some are
concerned that the values of the NHS are in some way up for grabs’ (The
Guardian, 14 February 2007).
- Closely Involved in the Dome and Wembley Shambles. As a Special
Adviser at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Burnham was
heavily involved in both the Millennium Dome and the greatly delayed
new Wembley Stadium. His CV used to refer to his involvement in these
projects, but he selectively erased references to them in 2001 (The
Independent, 17 February 2001).
- Yesterday’s Man. Burnham has spent almost all his working life
with the Labour Party and he has been intimately involved in this
Government since 1997. He was a Special Adviser at DCMS and he has
worked in junior ministerial roles under senior Labour figures such as
Tessa Jowell and Patricia Hewitt.
- Member of Brown’s Clique. Burnham is part of the ‘Primrose Hill
gang’ that includes leading Brownites such as Douglas Alexander and Ed
Miliband (The Daily Telegraph, 6 January 2006). He was a member of the
‘Demon Eyes’ football team with fellow Brownites, such as Ed Balls and
James Purnell (The Times, 9 July 1999).
HAZEL BLEARS – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
- Responsible for Overseeing Rising Crime. While Blears was a
Minister at the Home Office with responsibility for ‘crime reduction’,
violent crime actually increased by over 10 per cent, or an extra
100,000 violent crimes every year (Home Office, Crime in England and
Wales 2005/06, July 2006, Table 2.04).
- Admission of Failure. Blears recently said we haven’t quite
manage to re-engineer the justice system so that people have confidence
in it… People in the community do not feel that we have tackled crime
and anti-social behaviour as much as they would have wanted’ (Hazel
Blears, BBC TV, Question Time, 14 June 2007).
- Yesterday’s Woman. Blears has been a Minister in this Labour government since 2001.
- Member of Brown’s Clique. Blears is known to be extremely loyal
to the Party leadership. She said well before Gordon Brown any
leadership contest: ‘I don’t know whether there is going to be a
leadership contest or not. What I have said all along is that if Gordon
Brown is going to be our next Prime Minister I think he would be
absolutely excellent as Prime Minister’ (Hazel Blears, BBC R4, The
World at One, 28 December 2006).
ALAN JOHNSON – Secretary of State for Health
- Responsible for Spinning Education Stats. Alan Johnson was
criticised last September by the independent Statistics Commission
after spin doctors tried to influence the date on which damaging school
test results were published and ‘bury bad news’.
- Admission of Failure. Johnson recently admitted that Labour had
failed on reducing social mobility, saying: ‘The hard truth is that
social mobility has declined. It is actually getting harder people to
escape poverty and leave the income group, professional banding or
social circle of their parents’ (Alan Johnson, Labour’s Choice, Essay
for Fabian Society pamphlet, May 2007).
- Yesterday’s Man. Johnson has been a minister since 1999. He has held positions across four government departments.
JOHN HUTTON – Secretary of State for Business and Enterprise
- Responsible for Rising Child Poverty and Missed Targets. Child
poverty rose last year by 100,000 before housing costs (the
Government’s preferred measure) and 200,000 after housing costs. Child
poverty now stands at 2.8 million before housing costs and 3.8 million
after housing costs (Households Below Average Income Survey, DWP, March
2007). Hutton missed he’s target last year to reduce child poverty by
a quarter from 1998-99 levels. The Government is now falling even
further behind its target of halving child poverty by 2010.
- Responsible for £2.6 Billion Fraud. Last year, £2.6 from 2004-05
(Fraud and Error across the Benefit System, DWP, February 2007). £0.7
billion was lost through fraud but even more was lost through error –
£1.0 billion through customer error and £0.8 billion through official
- Yesterday’s Man. Hutton has been a minister in this Labour
government since 1998. He has served under David Blunkett and Alan
RUTH KELLY – Secretary of State for Transport
- Responsible for Sex Offenders Scandal. As Education Secretary in
January 2006, Ruth Kelly presided over the scandal of sex offenders
being allowed to work in schools (Mail on Sunday, 8 January 2006). Ruth
Kelly approved more registered sex offenders to work in schools than
any other Secretary of State since 1997, when the Sex Offenders
Register was introduced.
- Admission of Failure. Kelly was forced to admit to Parliament
that 88 people with cautions or convictions for sex offences have not
been banned from classrooms; and then admitted that sex offenders could
become foster parents, and did not know how many how many people on the
sex offenders’ register work as foster parents (The People, 19 February
- Responsible for Cuts to Special Schools. At the end of Kelly’s
time as Secretary of State for Education, there are 146 fewer
maintained special schools than there were in 1997 (Special Educational
Needs in England, January 2006, DFES, June 2006).
- Yesterday’s Woman. Kelly has held ministerial positions in this Labour government since 1998.
- Member of Brown’s Clique. Kelly worked directly under Brown when
she was a minister at the Treasury for three years. She had previously
worked for Nick Brown, one of Gordon’s closest political allies.
BARONESS SCOTLAND – Attorney-General
- Responsible for Extradition of NatWest Three. Baroness Scotland
had the official responsibility for the signing of the widely
criticised Extradition Treaty with the United States that led to the
extradition of the ‘NatWest Three’ (Lords Hansard, 31 March 2003,
Column WA92). Sir Digby Jones and others described the treaty as
‘non-reciprocal’ and said: ‘We are extremely concerned that the current
arrangements for extradition to the US expose British business people
to unique and serious risks’ (BBC News online, 29 June 2006).
- Admission of Failure. Baroness Scotland initially defended the
treaty but was subsequently forced into a humiliating backtrack when
she went to United States to renegotiate the treaty in light of the
trial of the NatWest three (BBC News online, 10 July 2006).
- Responsible for Overseeing Rising Crime. As a Minister at the
Home Office, Baroness Scotland has responsibility for the ‘crime
reduction strategy’. However, during her time there, violent crime has
risen by 21 per cent (Home Office, Crime in England and Wales 2005/06,
July 2006, Table 2.04).
- Yesterday’s Woman. Baroness Scotland has held ministerial positions in the current Labour government since 1999.