Leslie to Shadow Osborne as U.K. Labour Party Reshuffles Team

Houses Of Parliament

Houses Of Parliament

Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Chris Leslie will take over as economy spokesman for the opposition Labour Party after Ed Balls lost his seat in Parliament in Thursday’s general election.

Leslie, who shadowed chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander before the election, will lead opposition to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in the new Parliament, Labour’s acting leader, Harriet Harman, said in an e-mailed statement.

Labour slumped to its worst election performance since 1987 last week, prompting Ed Miliband to step down as leader. Prime Minister David Cameron defied opinion polls to win an outright Conservative majority. The Tories are planning 30 billion pounds ($47 billion) of cuts to spending and welfare to erase a budget deficit of 5 percent of gross domestic product by 2018, a more aggressive squeeze than Labour had proposed.

Hilary Benn will take over the role of foreign-affairs spokesman after his predecessor Douglas Alexander lost his seat to the Scottish National Party. Emma Reynolds will replace Benn as spokeswoman for communities and local government, while Shabana Mahmood becomes shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.

Justice spokesman Sadiq Khan, who has been reported to be considering running to be Labour’s candidate for mayor of London, has also stepped down and will be replaced by Charles Falconer, a member of the unelected House of Lords.

Chris Bryant, who played a prominent role in attacks on Rupert Murdoch and the Sun newspaper during the last government, has been appointed culture spokesman, taking the place of Harman, who will be acting leader until Labour elects a replacement for Miliband later this year.

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