Shock as Milburn joins the coalition

Steve Dinneen
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DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg risked tipping the coalition into all-out war yesterday when he appointed a third former Labour minister as an adviser to the government.

In a shock move ultra-Blairite Alan Milburn was named “social mobility tsar”, in a role that appears to encroach on cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith’s remit. A spokesman for Number 10 declined to elaborate on a prepared statement which briefly confirmed the unpaid appointment.

The role will “look at how the policies of major institutions, the professions, business and government are contributing towards the goal of a more socially mobile society.”

Clegg will set out further details in a speech on Wednesday. Milburn’s appointment follows that of former Labour ministers John Hutton and Frank Field, who will advise on pensions and poverty respectively.

Senior Tories were tight lipped last night but are understood to be privately furious at the implication the talent could not be found in-house.

The appointment is a clear sign from Clegg that he is prepared to anger the Tories in order to push through his liberal agenda.

The appointment has also raised the backs of senior Labour figures. Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott branded the three “collaborators” and leadership hopeful Andy Burnham said they were justifying the coalition.