UK opposition promotes young lawmakers to top team

AP News
Posted: Oct 07, 2011 11:09 AM
UK opposition promotes young lawmakers to top team

Britain's main opposition party promoted a host of new and mostly young lawmakers into senior roles Friday in an overhaul of its senior team of legislators.

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband said he was promoting "a new generation" of talent to take on Britain's governing coalition of the Conservative Party and smaller Liberal Democrats.

Notable appointments were ex-lawyer Chuka Umunna to handle the party's business brief and ex-economist Rachel Reeves to the No. 2 job in Labour's Treasury unit. Both are 32. They were elected to Parliament last year and were joined by fellow new legislators Liz Kendall, Michael Dugher, Margaret Curran and Stephen Twigg _ previously a minister under Tony Blair who lost his House of Commons seat in 2005, but returned in the May 2010 election.

"My decision to appoint half a dozen members of the 2010 intake shows the talent that Labour has and the way in which this new generation can join us in taking Labour's agenda forward," Miliband said.

Miliband, 41, was appointed as successor to Brown last year, narrowly beating his then better-known brother, ex-Foreign Secretary David Miliband _ who has not joined his sibling's inner circle.

The changes follow a revision to Labour Party rules, which had previously meant Miliband could only chose from legislators elected in a ballot of the party's members of the House of Commons.

Tabloid phone-hacking campaigner Tom Watson, a minister under former Prime Minister Gordon Brown who has since devoted his time to exposing malpractice in the media, will be asked by Miliband to switch targets from Rupert Murdoch to Prime Minister David Cameron. He was named Labour's deputy chairman with responsibility for coordinating campaigns.

Two former Brown stalwarts _ ex-foreign policy adviser Stewart Wood and one-time aide Jon Trickett _ were both handed roles in Miliband's new team.

"Shadow ministers" each handle the same brief as an actual government minister, challenging their counterpart in House of Commons debates and often sparring in the media.

Umunna will take on Business Secretary Vince Cable _ who at 68 is more than twice his new opponent's age.

His new role is "is less about me and more about how we get growth back and build a new better economy," Umunna wrote on his Twitter account.