Britain's opposition Labour unveils members of new top team

7th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain's main opposition Labour party announced the members of its new top team Thursday, with a married couple thought to be vying for the key job of finance spokesman.

The 19 politicians who will make up the team, known as the shadow Cabinet, were voted for by Labour lawmakers and their roles will now be finalised by party leader Ed Miliband.

They will shadow the roles and scrutinise the work of the Cabinet in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, formed in May following Labour's defeat in the general election after 13 years in power.

Yvette Cooper and her husband Ed Balls were both successful in the secret ballot and are believed to be in the running for the post of shadow chancellor, crucial at a time Britain's economic woes are centre stage.

Former minister for work and pensions Cooper topped the poll, beating her husband -- ex-children, schools and families minister -- into third place.

Whoever becomes finance spokesman will have the task of taking on Chancellor George Osborne, who will announce full details of deep public sector spending cuts later this month as part of efforts to reduce a record deficit.

Other senior figures who won a place in Labour's top team include former Cabinet ministers Alan Johnson, Andy Burnham and Jim Murphy.

The party elected eight women, which included promotions to the top team for sisters Angela and Maria Eagle. The Labour party had set a minimum quota of six women for the shadow Cabinet to promote equality.

The election of the top team comes after Ed Miliband narrowly defeated his older and better-known brother, ex-foreign secretary David Miliband, to become Labour leader on September 25.

© 2010 AFP

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