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THE WEEKLY WORLD EDITION OF The Daily Telegraph AND The Sunday Telegraph
January 26 - February 1 2011 No. 1018
THEPRICE IS RIGHT £24m Bent scores winner on Villa debut
:: SPORT PAGE 48
Yeates murder Dutch man from next door flat is arrested :: NEWS P3
By Andrew Porter, Political Editor ALAN JOHNSON resigned as shadow chancellor last week after less than four months in the job amid claims that his marriage had broken down.
Mr Johnson stood down, saying he was finding it “difficult to cope” with his personal crisis while carrying out his front-bench duties. One political website suggested he had an affair with a civil servant. It was also alleged that Mr Johnson’s wife had been having an affair with his former bodyguard.
Mr Johnson’s sudden resignation threw Labour into turmoil and represented a severe blow to Ed Miliband, who appointed him to the post in October.
Ed Balls, the original favourite for the job, was immediately installed as Mr Johnson’s successor. The Conservatives described his appointment as a return to the discredited Labour economic policies of Gordon Brown.
Mr Balls promised to continue the economic policy set out by Mr Johnson, but there were Labour fears that he would drag the party to the Left. He has refused to accept that the budget deficit, for example, needs urgent attention.
Mr Johnson, once regarded as a future party leader, endured a turbulent spell in the job, making a series of embarrassing gaffes and often struggling to master the basics of economic policy.
Despite his blunders, his resignation was entirely at his own instigation. Mr Johnson said he was resigning for personal reasons. A post from the political blogging site Guido Fawkes mentioned a ‘‘suspected affair’’ with a civil servant and suggested he may face newspaper allegations about his private life.
The Telegraph understands that Mr Johnson first approached Mr Miliband about quitting last Monday, but was asked to reconsider.
By last Thursday afternoon, he had decided he had to go. Announcing his decision, Mr Johnson wrote to Mr Miliband saying: “I have decided to resign from the shadow cabinet for personal reasons to do with my family.
“I have found it difficult to cope with these personal issues in my private life whilst carrying out an important front-bench role.”
He refused to make any further comment, but Labour sources indicated that Mr Johnson’s marriage to his second wife, Laura Patient, whom he married in 1991, was in trouble.
Of the resignation, Tessa Jowell, the former Cabinet minister and fellow Blairite MP, said: “It’s a tremendous loss. I am so sorry that what’s happened in his private life has led to this decision.”
Mr Balls added: “Alan has stood down for personal reasons – I think everybody knows that is absolutely genuinely what is happening here.
“It is tough and he is a great loss, but I am going to carry on the
Continued on page 2
Alan Johnson with his wife Laura. She is alleged to have had an affair with his bodyguard
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