Is a shadow cabinet minister going to quit? and other stories

Word at Westminster is that one of Labour’s incumbent shadow cabinet is on the brink of deciding his efforts would be better expended on the backbenches.

Who could it be? We can probably discount the leadership contenders, as well as those who have already declared they want to run for the Shad Cab. That leaves Liam Byrne, Pat McFadden, Hilary Benn, Douglas Alexander,  Shaun Woodward, Jim Murphy and Peter Hain – all of whom, it must be emphasised, could run all together.

One reason for dropping out could be the sheer competitiveness and the fear of losing. As Labour Uncut points out, at least two incumbent members of the shadow cabinet are bound to lose their seats.

Shadow housing minister John Healey (pictured) is determined that won’t be him. His words to Tribune on the “squeezed middle” Labour should do more to look after have been picked up by the Evening Standard’s Paul Waugh in a curiously glowing tribute to his “dark horse” status.

Prominent backbenchers Jon Cruddas and Tom Watson are among Healey’s supporters, as well as new boys and girls Rachel Reeves, Lisa Nandy, John Woodcock and Chuka Ummuna – a broad church of Labour opinion indeed.

Expect one of Healey’s letters to MPs to surface shortly alongside the others. Unlike other contenders, Healey has been tailoring his correspondence to its recipients.

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