Sorry for the delay – I’ve been writing for tonight’s newspaper. Here is a distillation of the reasons given by Labour’s spokesman for the departure of Alan Johnson as shadow chancellor.
“We have been trying to persuade him to stay, we have been saying, ‘can you work this out, can we work it out, for the last few days.” Read more
We asked in December whether Alan Johnson would stay long in the shadow chancellor role. The answer is not long: he’s resigning in 15 minutes time. This is apparently because of family reasons rather than the fact that he has been caught short on economic policy several times in recent weeks. Stay posted.
UPDATE: Ed Balls will be shadow chancellor, the job he has coveted. His wife Yvette Cooper replaces him as shadow home affairs secretary. Douglas Alexander will quit his DWP post to become shadow foreign secretary, which was Cooper’s role. Here is the Johnson statement: Read more
A senior Tory predicted to me in opposition that austerity would usher in a new era of decentralisation in government.
New Labour, he said, couldn’t resist micromanaging public services; they had to show results from a spending spree.
By contrast ministers tasked with slashing budgets would be desperate to pass down responsibility for the worst decisions. This is the kind of power politicians are keen to give away.
He was right. The coalition have embraced the agenda of localism with some gusto. Now heartwrenching case of Riven Vincent has come along to test David Cameron’s resolve. Read more