Britain's opposition Labor party chooses its new shadow Cabinet

08:37, October 08, 2010      

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Britain's opposition Labor party chose its new shadow Cabinet in the evening of Thursday, with husband and wife team Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper taking two of the top three spots.

As a result of the election of the shadow Cabinet in a poll by the Labor party's members of parliament (MPs), the new Labor leader Ed Miliband is set to hand out roles in his shadow Cabinet to the top 19 in the poll.

All 258 Labor MPs were entitled to vote in the election. When Labor is in opposition its rules say that MPs must choose the members of the shadow Cabinet, but the leader has the choice of who gets what job. When in government, the leader makes both choices.

Top of the poll was rising star and former Cabinet minister Yvette Cooper, who got 232 votes, followed by John Healey with 192 votes, and in third place Cooper's husband Ed Balls, with 179 votes.

The success of Cooper and Balls comes as no surprise, as both have impressed as members of the old shadow Cabinet, which continued to serve after the resignation of former leader Gordon Brown on May 11, until the election of Miliband as his successor just under two weeks ago.

Both are tipped to be in competition for the number two post in the shadow Cabinet, chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister). Balls served in the Treasury under Brown when he was chancellor, and when Brown became prime minister he was keen to replace his then chancellor Alistair Darling with Balls, but lacked the political support.

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