Last Updated: September 05, 2023, 00:46 IST
London, Sep 4: The UK’s Opposition Labour Party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, on Monday undertook a wide reshuffle of his shadow cabinet in preparation for a general election expected next year, with Indian-origin shadow ministers Lisa Nandy and Preet Kaur Gill among those being demoted.
Nandy was shunted out of a plum role as shadow levelling up secretary to be handed an international development ministerial post, a role previously held by Gill – the first British Sikh female member of Parliament in the House of Commons.
Nandy, the member of Parliament for Wigan and daughter of Dipak Nandy – a Kolkata-born academic well-known for his work in the field of race relations in Britain, moves from being a shadow secretary of state to a shadow minister as the Department for International Development (DfID) falls within the Foreign Office remit under the Conservative Party government.
“There is so much potential across our country. But to realise it, we need a government that will spread power and opportunity far more widely,” Nandy tweeted, without directly addressing the reshuffle.
“That’s what the next Labour government will do, and it’s what ‘All In’ is about,” she said, referencing the paperback edition of her political book ‘All In’ which released this month.
The 44-year-old was one of the leadership contenders who went up against Starmer in the wake of Labour’s poor showing in the Jeremy Corbyn led 2019 general election, won by the Boris Johnson led Tories.
Nandy now makes way for an expanded role for Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner as shadow levelling up secretary, seen as a sign of the Opposition preparing its top team for campaign mode ahead of the annual party conference coming up in October.
Meanwhile, Preet Kaur Gill took to social media to sign off from the shadow cabinet and reiterate her support for Starmer’s leadership.
“It has been a great privilege to serve as the Shadow Secretary for International Development through a tumultuous few years: a global pandemic that has set the clock back on years of progress, the UK’s disastrous exit from Afghanistan, and Putin’s abhorrent war in Ukraine,” the Birmingham Edgbaston MP tweeted.
“I am proud of our work we have done holding the government to account: over its disastrous decision to abolish DfID and mismanaged aid cuts that have harmed so many lives…It couldn’t be clearer that we need to turf out this rotten, zombie government and put a mission-driven Labour government in power. It is as clear today as it was three years ago when I supported his campaign to be leader, that Keir Starmer is the Prime Minister Britain needs,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Labour leader handed promotions to Pakistani-origin Birmingham Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood, who takes charge as the new shadow justice secretary, and Sri Lankan origin Thangam Debbonaire as the new shadow culture secretary.
Pat McFadden has been appointed shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Labour’s national campaign coordinator, and Liz Kendall becomes shadow work and pensions secretary. Leeds MP Hilary Benn returns to the Labour frontbench as the new shadow Northern Ireland secretary.
However, the senior-most roles in Starmer’s shadow cabinet remain unchanged, with Rachel Reeves retaining shadow chancellor, Yvette Cooper shadow home secretary, Wes Streeting shadow health secretary and David Lammy shadow foreign secretary. PTI AK SCY
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