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Johnson resignation sees Liam Byrne move to shadow work and pensions role

Joe Williams , 21 Jan 2011

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Former chief secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne (pictured) has been made shadow secretary of state for work and pensions as part of a shadow cabinet reshuffle following the resignation of shadow chancellor Alan Johnson.


Byrne had been shadow minister for the Cabinet Office.

He is perhaps best remembered for his letter to his successor as chief secretary to the Treasury, David Laws, which read, "Dear chief secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left".

Alan Johnson yesterday resigned after just three months in the job, citing personal concerns. This sparked a significant reshuffle of the shadow cabinet.

Most controversially, the leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, has moved Gordon Brown loyalist Ed Balls, who had been shadow home secretary since October and was also a Labour leadership contender, to the shadow chancellor position.

Balls has been replaced as shadow home secretary by Yvette Cooper (his wife), who moves from her shadow foreign secretary position. Douglas Alexander, moves from work and pensions to the shadow foreign secretary role and Alexander has been replaced by Liam Byrne. Tessa Jowell takes on Byrne’s former responsibilities while remaining shadow Olympics minister.

Byrne has been MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill since 2004, where he holds a 10,000 majority.

In the six years the Labour Party was in government after Byrne's election, he shouldered many responsibilities, working as parliamentary under-secretary of state at the department of health, minister for the West Midlands, minister for the Cabinet Office, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, minister of state for policing, security and community safety and Minister of State for Immigration.

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