Labour: Ed Miliband returns to Labour shadow cabinet

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Ed MilibandImage source, Getty Images

Sir Keir Starmer has appointed former Labour leader Ed Miliband to his new shadow cabinet.

Mr Miliband, who led the party between 2010 and 2015, will now hold the role of shadow business secretary.

Sir Keir won the contest to lead the party on Saturday, after beating Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy.

He named Ms Nandy as his shadow foreign secretary on Sunday, and has now appointed Ms Long-Bailey as shadow education secretary.

Emily Thornberry, who failed to make it onto the final ballot in the leadership contest, will now become shadow international trade secretary.

Sir Keir chose his top team on Sunday, naming the party's new deputy leader, Angela Rayner, as chair of Labour, Anneliese Dodds as shadow chancellor and Nick Thomas-Symonds as shadow home secretary.

Rachel Reeves took the job of shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, but Jonathan Ashworth kept his post as shadow health secretary.

In Monday's announcement, he confirmed the rest of his frontbench, including David Lammy as the new shadow justice secretary, John Healey as shadow defence secretary and Jonathan Reynolds as shadow work and pensions secretary.

Mr Miliband, who has also served as climate and energy secretary under Gordon Brown, wrote on Twitter that he was "looking forward to serving… alongside such a talented team".

He said everyone must "focus on playing our part" to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, but added: "We cannot go back to business as usual after this crisis."

Analysis by BBC political correspondent Jonathan Blake

Beyond a handful of lesser known names staying at the top table, Sir Keir Starmer has overseen a clear-out of Jeremy Corbyn's closest allies.

Fourteen people who had not already signalled their departure are leaving the shadow cabinet, with several new names to get used to.

Ed Miliband is back with a brief he knows well, having served as energy secretary under Gordon Brown.

Already the former leader has warned the UK will need to re-shape its economy after the coronavirus crisis, perhaps pointing towards a post-pandemic policy.

Lord Falconer is another link to Labour's past in power and Blair-era minister David Lammy, an outspoken and well known face on the backbenches, takes up a key role as shadow justice secretary.

Fresh faces bring Sir Keir Starmer the chance to move on from a difficult and divisive time for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.

But he will also be well aware that many in the party's mass membership will not want a complete clean break.

Deputy leadership candidates Ian Murray and Rosena Allin-Khan have both been given jobs in Sir Keir's new line-up - as shadow Scotland secretary and shadow minister for mental health respectively.

And Louise Haigh will serve as the interim shadow Northern Ireland secretary after it was confirmed the current holder of the job, Tony Lloyd, has been hospitalised by coronavirus.

Valerie Vaz will remain as shadow leader of the House of Commons, while Andy McDonald is moved from transport to take on the new role of shadow employment rights and protections secretary.

Baroness Smith will stay as shadow leader of the Lords and the former Lord Chancellor in Tony Blair's government, Lord Falconer, becomes shadow Attorney General.

Other appointments include:

  • Bridget Phillipson as the new shadow chief secretary to the Treasury
  • Luke Pollard remains as shadow environment secretary
  • Steve Reed becomes shadow communities and local government secretary
  • Thangam Debbonaire becomes shadow housing secretary
  • Jim McMahon becomes shadow transport secretary
  • Preet Kaur Gill becomes shadow international development secretary
  • Nia Griffith moves from defence to become shadow Wales secretary
  • Marsha de Cordova is named shadow women and equalities secretary
  • Cat Smith stays on as shadow minister for young people and voter engagement
  • Lord McAvoy remains as chief Lords whip

The new shadow cabinet has been described by Labour as "gender-balanced", with 17 women and 15 men.

It also has seven members from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Announcing the appointments, Sir Keir said he was "proud" of his shadow cabinet, saying it "showcases the breadth, depth and talents of the Labour Party".

He added: "This is a new team that will be relentlessly focused on acting in the national interest to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and rebuilding Labour so that it can win the next election."