Work and pensions secretary Peter Hain’s resignation triggers cabinet reshuffle

The sudden resignation of Peter Hain yesterday has forced UK prime minister Gordon Brown to take swift action to reshuffle his cabinet.

Brown moved quickly to replace Hain with James Purnell as work and pensions secretary, while Andy Burnham, former chief secretary to the Treasury, takes over as culture secretary. Yvette Cooper, former housing minister, takes over from Burnham.

Caroline Flint, meanwhile, has started her role as the new housing minister, following a role as minister of state for employment and welfare reform since June 2007. Flint is replaced by Stephen Timms, who moves from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Hain stepped down from his post as work and pensions secretary, after getting caught up in a fundraising scandal.

He said his resignation will enable him to “clear my name”, having previously blamed poor administration for failing to declare more than £100,000 in donations to the police in time.

His resignation comes as a further hammer blow to Brown and the Labour Party, whose popularity has declined markedly in recent months.

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