Labour Reshuffle: Owen Smith Replaces Peter Hain, Tom Harris Back On Front Bench

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 15/05/2012 17:03 Updated: 15/05/2012 17:03

Ed Miliband has conducted a minor reshuffle of his shadow cabinet, with Owen Smith replacing Peter Hain as shadow Welsh Secretary.

The reshuffle - the third among Labour frontbenchers since the last general election - was prompted by the resignation of Hain on Monday, who says he wants to go back to his constituency to campaign for the Severn Barrage, a potentially major infrastructure project on the mouth of the River Severn.

As expected Ed Miliband opted for only a minor reshuffle, with all of his top team remaining in place.

Jon Cruddas, who was once tipped as a leadership contender for the party, will take on Labour's national policy review from Liam Byrne. Byrne is one of the Blairite members of the shadow cabinet and losing one of his roles will inevitably be taken as a sign of that wing of the party's waning influence within Labour. However he retains the role of Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary.

In a statement Miliband said: “I want to thank Liam for his excellent work in kick starting the ideas that Labour will need to win in 2015, and for working so hard to make sure our agenda is rooted firmly in the issues that matter to hardworking people in Britain.”

Cruddas, who recently spoke to The Huffington Post about his call for an English national anthem, is seen as a "blue Labour" proponent; believing the party's priority should be to reconnect with its working class roots.

Miliband said: "Jon Cruddas is already known as one of the most radical and deepest thinkers in the party. As the policy review enters its next phase, I look forward to him bringing his energy and new ideas."

The Labour leader's spokesman told journalists that leading the national policy review was a "one-person job", but also revealed that Lord Andrew Adonis will advise the policy review on industrial strategy.

Tom Harris returns to the Labour front bench as a shadow environment minister. The Glasgow MP was unsuccessful in his bid to become Scottish Labour leader in December of 2011 but is one of the most popular MPs of any party on Twitter. Until recently his blog was one of the most widely-read by any MP outside of Westminster.

Angela Eagle remains as Shadow Leader of House - a role which sees her regularly sending up her opposite number Sir George Young on Thursday mornings in the Commons. She's now also Miliband's recommendation for National Policy Forum chair. It's an elected position so her chairmanship will need to be voted on.

Catherine McKinnell moves to the treasury team to replace Owen smith, and Lisa Nandy replaces McKinnell as shadow minister for children and young families.

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