Miliband moves to purge Blairites

LABOUR leader Ed Miliband yesterday shuffled his front bench team, demoting well-known Blairites and moving a vocal backer of the High Speed 2 railway.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne was sacked, Jim Murphy lost his defence brief and moved to international development, while education minister Stephen Twigg was replaced by historian-turned-MP Tristam Hunt.

Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle, a proponent of the £50bn High Speed 2 project, swapped jobs with shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has recently voiced doubts about spending that much money on one scheme. Although Creagh immediately affirmed her support for the railway, her appointment makes it a lot easier for Labour to countenance dropping their backing for the project.