Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Domino Theory May Explain out of Favour Blairite's Academy Brief: News

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Domino Theory May Explain out of Favour Blairite's Academy Brief: News

Article excerpt

Labour appoints Liam Byrne as Willetts' shadow: John Morgan considers the political background.

It would be nice to believe that Ed Miliband was thinking serious thoughts about higher education policy when he replaced Shabana Mahmood with Liam Byrne as Labour's shadow universities minister.

But that might be stretching it. In fact, it seems that the change was the result of a series of domino effects - some possibly unexpected - set in motion by the Labour leader's desire to demote Mr Byrne from his position as shadow work and pensions secretary.

There are differing views on what impact, if any, Mr Byrne's appointment will have on Labour's biggest higher education challenge - formulating a fees and funding policy.

Some warn that the sector may have ended up with a poor result: a shadow minister who may be inclined to "sulk" after his demotion. However, others see his experience as a plus.

Mr Byrne, viewed as a Blairite and stripped of responsibility for Labour's policy review last year, is at the ideological margins of the party under the more left-wing Mr Miliband.

By contrast, the highly rated Ms Mahmood is part of the "One Nation" circle surrounding the leader.

Instead of being banished to the backbenches in this month's reshuffle, Mr Byrne was offered the universities brief - a post outside the shadow Cabinet - as consolation.

Some suggest that the leader's office was surprised that Mr Byrne, a former chief secretary to the Treasury, accepted the lesser post.

When the offer was accepted, the party had to find Ms Mahmood another position. She was promoted to shadow exchequer secretary. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.