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Darling to remain Chancellor

Alistair Darling is to remain as Chancellor in Gordon Brown’s latest Cabinet reshuffle.

Last night, Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell stood down from his position, calling on the Prime Minister to quit for the good of the Labour Party.

Darling was widely expected to be replaced as Chancellor by Education Minister Ed Balls, with Purnell a possible replacement for Balls, but these plans were ripped apart by Purnell’s announcement.

Purnell wrote to Brown: “I am calling on you to stand aside to give our party a fighting chance of winning. As such I am resigning from government. The party was here long before us, and we want it to be here long after we have gone. We must do the right thing by it.”

Fellow Blairite Defence Secretary John Hutton resigned from Cabinet this morning, although he is publicly backing Brown to stay in as PM.

In other moves, Health Secretary Alan Johnson has been appointed Home Secretary after Jacqui Smith stepped down earlier this week. Jack Straw will remain as Justice Secretary and Peter Mandelson will keep his Business Secretary position. Alan Sugar has been made enterprise Tsar.

Universities Secretary John Denham is replacing Hazel blears as Communities Secretary.

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