Hughes quits as government shake-up looms

5th June 2009 at 01:00

Beverley Hughes, the children's minister, announced this week that she is to stand down from Parliament at the next general election and will leave government in the predicted ministerial reshuffle.

The news comes as speculation mounts that Ed Balls will leave his position as Schools Secretary to take over from Alistair Darling as Chancellor.

It has been a tumultuous week for the Labour Government. Ms Hughes's resignation was just one of a host of other high-level names standing down, as Gordon Brown's position as Prime Minister looked to be weakened.

Ms Hughes said her decision was based entirely on "personal and family issues" and that it had nothing to do with the MPs' expenses scandal.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Ms Hughes claimed Pounds 801 for re-upholstery, Pounds 718 on a chair and Pounds 435 on curtains and bedding.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Ms Hughes pointed to her work with SureStart as an example of Labour's advances over the past 12 years.

She said: "The progress we have made on so many fronts, including SureStart and new services for families of children under five, a much more rounded approach to provision for teenagers, and opening up opportunities for families to balance the many competing pressures of modern living, are just recent examples of services that are transforming the lives of many children, young people and their families."

Ms Hughes was well known for her work on Every Child Matters, the programme bringing together schools and children's services. It has enjoyed mixed success, particularly following the Baby P case in Haringey, north London.

In a response to her resignation, Mr Balls praised her "drive and determination" in improving the lives of "millions of children".

The Daycare Trust said in a statement: "The recent opening of the 3000th SureStart children's centre is a fitting testament to her substantial achievements in office."

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