UK Politics

Who's who in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet

New Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has named his first shadow cabinet. Who are they and what is likely to be their policy focus?


Shadow chancellor - John McDonnell

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The veteran Labour leftwinger is best friends with Mr Corbyn and co-ordinated his election campaign. It is thought he was promised the top job some time ago. The MP for Hayes and Harlington previously stood for Labour leader in 2007 and 2010.

A prominent rebel, he recently declared he would "swim through vomit" to vote against benefit cuts and faced criticism for telling a union event that he would "like to go back to the 1980s and assassinate Thatcher".

He sparked outrage in 2003 by saying IRA terrorists should be "honoured" for taking part in their "armed struggle", while attending a gathering to commemorate the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.

Policy focus: Mr McDonnell has said a Corbyn government would clear the budget deficit, "but not by hitting the poor". Instead Labour would balance the books "by halting the tax cuts to the very rich and to corporations, by making sure they pay their taxes, and by investing in the housing and infrastructure a modern country needs to get people back to work in good jobs", he says.


Shadow home secretary - Andy Burnham

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Defeated leadership contender Andy Burnham served as chief secretary to the Treasury, culture secretary and health secretary in Gordon Brown's government. The MP for Leigh - who came fourth out of five contenders in the 2010 battle and came second to Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 - was also previously shadow health secretary. In April 2009, having been booed at the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, he began a campaign that eventually led to the second Hillsborough inquiry. Having lost out to Mr Corbyn in the leadership contest, he said the priority was to "unite and to take on the Tories".

Policy focus: Mr Burnham was once the Home Office minister at the forefront of the Labour government's push for ID cards, which were opposed by then backbencher Jeremy Corbyn. Mr Burnham has also largely voted in favour of mass retention of data, according to the Public Whip website.


Shadow foreign secretary - Hilary Benn

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Hilary Benn is to remain as shadow foreign secretary. He is sceptical of the need for military action in Syria and is widely thought in the party to have impressed at the dispatch box since taking over the brief in May. Mr Benn served as a minister in both the Blair and Brown governments, and was shadow secretary of state for communities and local government in Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet. He faced Chancellor George Osborne in Prime Minister's Questions in June, while David Cameron was away in Europe.

Policy focus: Mr Corbyn has promised to apologise on behalf of the Labour Party for the invasion of Iraq. Mr Benn has said he does not regret voting for the war in 2003 but has described it as one of the "hardest decisions I've ever had to make". Foreign policy is an area where Labour's approach will be heavily scrutinised, with Mr Corbyn opposed to any military intervention in Syria.


Deputy leader - Tom Watson

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A former trade union official who once shared a flat with Unite leader Len McCluskey, Mr Watson entered Parliament in 2001 as MP for West Bromwich. He was a government whip and defence minister under Tony Blair, but resigned in 2006, calling for the then prime minister to quit in the interests of the Labour Party and the country. An ally of Gordon Brown, he was a Cabinet Office minister and deputy party chairman under his government. Mr Watson is known for campaigning on issues including phone hacking, surveillance laws and historical child abuse.

Policy focus: In his interview with Andrew Marr the morning after the leadership results, Mr Watson suggested policy differences with Mr Corbyn over issues including the UK's membership of Nato, saying he had his "own mandate" as deputy leader.


Shadow business secretary - Angela Eagle

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Angela Eagle had been tipped as a potential shadow chancellor but has been given the business brief instead. She was also announced as shadow first secretary of state and will deputise for Mr Corbyn at Prime Minister's Questions when David Cameron is away. The MP for Wallasey stood in the deputy leadership contest and was also a cabinet minister under Gordon Brown. As shadow leader of the Commons her weekly Business questions session will have been good practice for PMQs.

Policy focus: Ms Eagle will be attempting to win the backing of businesses for Mr Corbyn's Labour, after they gave his election a mixed reaction. There was support for increased infrastructure investment, but concern about renationalising the railways and raising business taxes. According to BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed: "For the moment, many businesses will decide that silence is the best policy when considering how to respond to the election of Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell."


Shadow health secretary - Heidi Alexander

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A former party whip under Ed Miliband's leadership, the MP for Lewisham East may be unknown to many outside Westminster. She has previously campaigned against the closure of Lewisham Hospital's A&E department.

Policy focus: Speaking after her appointment Ms Alexander told the BBC a "very very limited role" for the private sector in the NHS could be a good thing. Mr Corbyn has pledged to eradicate PFI deals from the NHS by using government money to buy them out.


Shadow justice secretary - Lord Falconer

Lord Falconer is to continue as shadow justice secretary, having initially been appointed by acting leader Harriet Harman. A former flatmate and close ally of former prime minister Tony Blair, he served as Lord Chancellor under the Blair government.


Shadow Commons leader - Chris Bryant

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The MP for the Rhondda moves from the job of shadow culture secretary. Mr Bryant, who backed Yvette Cooper in the leadership contest, has also been the shadow work and pensions, and Home Office, minister. He was offered the job of shadow defence secretary but turned it down due to disagreements with Mr Corbyn on defence policy.


Shadow international development - Diane Abbott

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Another left-wing MP, she stood in the Labour leadership contest in 2010 - losing to Ed Miliband - and was defeated in this year's London mayoral candidate election. A prominent rebel against the Blair and Brown governments, she voted against the party line on issues including a third runway for Heathrow, renewing the UK's Trident nuclear submarine system, tuition fees and the war in Iraq. She is MP for the east London seat of Hackney North and Stoke Newington.


Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury - Seema Malhotra

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Seema Malhotra became MP for the London seat of Feltham and Heston in 2011 in a by-election following the death of Alan Keen. In August 2014, she was given the newly-created role of shadow minister for preventing violence against women and girls, by the then Labour leader Ed Miliband. She will be Mr McDonnell's number two in the shadow Treasury team.


Shadow education secretary - Lucy Powell

The Manchester Central MP, elected in 2012, is close to Ed Miliband and was vice-chair of Labour's general election campaign. During the leadership campaign she said she had "never, ever met or spoken to" Mr Corbyn since becoming an MP. After being appointed, she said education was a subject she was "passionate" about.

Policy focus: A National Education Service, following the NHS model, is one of Mr Corbyn's flagship policies. Under his plans, state-funded academies and free schools would be forced to return to local authority control and tuition fees would be scrapped.


Shadow Northern Ireland secretary - Vernon Coaker

The MP for Gedling returns to the position he filled in Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet from 2010-13. He later became shadow defence secretary. Mr Coaker - who chaired Yvette Cooper's Labour leadership campaign - was also minister for schools under Gordon Brown.

Policy focus: In his second stint as shadow Northern Ireland secretary, Mr Coaker might face questions about Mr Corbyn's friendship with Gerry Adams and his support for a united Ireland.


Shadow secretary of state for Scotland - Ian Murray

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He continues as shadow Scotland secretary, having initially been given the role by acting leader Harriet Harman in May. The MP for Edinburgh South is the only current Labour MP in Scotland.

Policy focus: Supporters of the new Labour leader say his left-wing approach will win back votes lost to the SNP at the general election. Labour under Mr Corbyn could also co-operate in Commons votes with the SNP, whose leader Nicola Sturgeon has called for a "progressive alliance". He does not support Scottish independence.


Chief whip - Rosie Winterton

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A former government minister for transport, work and pensions and local government at different times under Gordon Brown, she retains the crucial job of shadow chief whip. Ms Winterton, a former aide to John Prescott, filled the same role throughout Ed Miliband's leadership. She could face some tough challenges managing the different wings of the party.


Shadow defence secretary - Maria Eagle

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The identical twin sister of the party's new business spokeswoman, Angela Eagle. The Garston and Halewood MP has previously been shadow transport secretary and shadow environment secretary. She has previously voted in favour of renewing the UK's Trident nuclear missile system.

Policy focus: Defence is one of the areas where Mr Corbyn's policies are likely to be different to the views of most of his MPs. During the Labour leadership campaign he set out his "moral" opposition to renewing the UK's nuclear weapons system. The previous Labour leadership was firmly in favour of renewal, and Ms Eagle has voted this way in the Commons. Mr Corbyn has also called for a "serious debate about the powers of Nato" but admits there isn't "an appetite as a whole for people to leave".


Shadow work and pensions secretary - Owen Smith

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The former shadow Welsh secretary said it was a "great honour" to be appointed to the work and pensions brief. Before entering politics, he spent 10 years working as a BBC journalist.

Policy focus: Mr Smith will be expected to set Labour firmly against the government's planned welfare cuts, which Mr Corbyn said in his victory speech were responsible for the "social cleansing" of parts of London.


Shadow energy secretary - Lisa Nandy

The Wigan MP, seen as being on the left of the party, has previously been a shadow Cabinet Office and education minister. Left wing journalist Owen Jones says he considered starting a campaign to make her leader after Ed Miliband.

Policy focus: Mr Corbyn has said he would be "much happier" with a "regulated, publicly run service delivering energy supplies". There would be a moratorium on fracking, which Mr Corbyn has called "dangerous to the environment".


Shadow environment secretary - Kerry McCarthy

The Bristol East MP, first elected in 2005, has previously shadowed positions in the Foreign Office, Treasury and Department for Work and Pensions. She is also a vegan and campaigns on food issues.

Policy focus: Ms McCarthy is likely to use her new position to pressure the government on the badger cull, of which she has been a fierce critic. She will be liaising with the farming sector for the Labour Party, and has spoken out against the environmental impact of meat production as well as saying the meat, dairy and egg industries "cause immense suffering to more than a billion animals every year in the UK alone".


Shadow communities secretary - Jon Trickett

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Mr Trickett, the MP for Hemsworth, was one of Jeremy Corbyn's most senior backers in the Parliamentary Labour Party. He was shadow minister without portfolio and deputy chairman under Ed Miliband's leadership. He has dismissed claims Labour lost the general election because it was too left wing, saying there was a "gulf between the population and political class".

Policy focus: Jeremy Corbyn is likely to set his stall firmly against cuts to local government budgets, which he regularly attacked during his election campaign.


Shadow culture secretary - Michael Dugher

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The Barnsley East MP was a close ally of previous Labour leader Ed Miliband, and was a shadow Cabinet Office minister as well as shadow transport secretary and deputy chairman. He has blamed Labour's election defeat on the party having "too many pointy-heads and too few street fighters".


Shadow secretary of state for transport - Lilian Greenwood

The Nottingham South MP has represented the seat since 2010. She has been promoted from shadow rail minister under Ed Miliband's leadership.

Policy focus: Ms Greenwood has been a strong critic of the government's rail policy, and now has a more prominent platform from which to push for reform. During the leadership campaign, Mr Corbyn said he would consider women-only rail carriages to help stem a rise in assaults on public transport. He also wants to renationalise Britain's railway network and is opposed to the HS2 scheme linking London with the north of England.


Shadow secretary of state for Wales - Nia Griffith

The MP for Llanelli since 2005. She was shadow minister for Wales under the last leadership and also served as a shadow business minister. Ms Griffith said she was "very honoured" to be appointed to the shadow cabinet.


Shadow minister for young people and voter registration - Gloria De Piero

The former GMTV reporter has represented Ashfield since the 2010 general election. She served as a shadow culture minister and shadow Home Office minister under Ed Miliband, before being appointed as a shadow minister for women and equalities in 2013.

Policy focus: Jeremy Corbyn supports lowering the voting age to 16, which is not backed by the government


Shadow minister for mental health - Luciana Berger

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The Liverpool Wavertree MP backed Andy Burnham in the leadership election. She was a shadow health minister under Ed Miliband.


Shadow leader of the House of Lords - Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Labour MP for Basildon until 2010, Baroness Smith served as a Cabinet Office minister under Gordon Brown's government. She keeps the position she has held since May.

Policy focus: Jeremy Corbyn has called for a thorough and comprehensive review of the House of Lords, saying: "In the interim under our proposals, the Labour party will certainly not nominate new peers for the Lords which risks undermining its legitimacy."


Lords chief whip - Lord Bassam of Brighton

Former leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, he has held the chief whip position since May 2010.


Shadow attorney general- Catherine McKinnell

The former solicitor is the MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North. She was made Shadow Solicitor General by Ed Miliband in his first front bench team, and went on to hold the roles of shadow children's and shadow Treasury minister.


Shadow minister without portfolio - Jonathan Ashworth

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The Leicester South MP was a shadow Cabinet Office minister under Ed Miliband. He backed Yvette Cooper in the leadership election over his Leicester neighbour Liz Kendall, telling the Leicester Mercury he had agonised over the decision.


Shadow minister for housing and planning - John Healey

Mr Healey is shadowing a portfolio he held under Gordon Brown. The Wentworth and Dearne held a range of post during the Labour government, including financial secretary to the Treasury and local government minister.

Policy focus: Housing is likely to be a key policy area for the Corbyn administration. The new leader wants 240,000 new homes built each year. He has also has called for rent controls in some areas. By 2025, he is promising "decent homes for all in public and private sectors".