UK Politics

Labour: Jeremy Corbyn adds new faces to shadow team

Tracy Brabin
Image caption Tracy Brabin will work on Labour education policy

Ex-Coronation Street actress Tracy Brabin is among Labour MPs to have been given frontbench jobs by Jeremy Corbyn.

The Batley & Spen MP becomes a shadow education minister, with responsibility for early years provision.

Chris Williamson gets the key role of shadow fire services minister while former Manchester police commissioner Tony Lloyd becomes housing spokesman.

Three shadow ministers were sacked last week after they defied the leadership in a Commons vote over Brexit.

Ruth Cadbury, Catherine West and Andy Slaughter were dismissed after they backed a motion calling for the UK to remain in the single market - having been instructed to abstain.

Mr Corbyn already had some long-standing gaps to fill after a wave of resignations in the wake of last year's EU referendum, which prompted a challenge to his leadership, and February's Commons vote on Article 50.

Since the party's better-than-expected performance in the general election, Mr Corbyn's authority has been enhanced and deputy leader Tom Watson said over the weekend he would lead the party "for years".

Monday's mini reshuffle by the Labour leader sees up to 20 roles filled below shadow cabinet level.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Chris Williamson gets the key role of shadow fire services minister
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Veteran MP Tony Lloyd returns to Labour's frontbench

Among those returning to the frontbench after quitting in the past are Rachael Maskell and Gloria De Piero, who will speak on transport and justice respectively.

Mr Corbyn has bolstered his home affairs team with four appointments.

Mr Williamson, a close ally of the leader's, has been given the sensitive fire services brief, which he held under Ed Miliband between 2010 and 2013.

He said his immediate priority would be to secure justice for the victims and survivors of the Grenfell fire and that he would be pushing, as a bare minimum, for the retrofitting of sprinkler system in tower blocks.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Louise Haigh and Afzal Khan - who was elected to Parliament for the first time last month - also join the home affairs team under shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.

Other first-time MPs to get roles include Paul Sweeney (Scotland) and Anneliese Dodds (Treasury) while Carolyn Harris and Gerald Jones, both first elected in 2015, will speak on women and equalities and defence respectively.

There is also a return to the frontbench for Tony Lloyd, who served as a minister under Tony Blair and was chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party before being elected Greater Manchester's Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012. He returned to Parliament as MP for Rochdale last month.

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