UK Politics

Labour party: Kate Green appointed as shadow education secretary

Kate Green Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption Kate Green has been a Labour MP since 2010

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has appointed Kate Green as his new shadow education secretary.

She replaces Rebecca Long-Bailey, who was sacked this week after sharing a story Sir Keir said contained an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Sir Keir has said he "stands by" his decision to sack her, following criticism.

He said he was "delighted" to appoint Ms Green, who has campaigned against educational inequalities.

Ms Green, a Labour MP since 2010, said it was a "privilege" to have been asked to serve in the role.

She said the coronavirus pandemic had had a "devastating impact" on children's education and that she was looking forward to working with teachers, unions, parents and councils to "help ensure we get our children back in school as soon as possible".

Prior to becoming an MP, she was chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group and before that, director of the National Council for One Parent Families (now Gingerbread).

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rebecca Long-Bailey was sacked earlier this week

It is a return to the shadow cabinet for Ms Green, who served as shadow minister for women and equalities under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

She resigned and went on to chair Owen Smith's failed leadership bid.

Sir Keir gave her the role of shadow minister for child poverty strategy in April, before elevating her to education spokeswoman.

Labour MPs including Diane Abbott and former deputy Labour leader Tom Watson have welcomed Ms Green's appointment.

Ms Green's swift appointment comes after the sacking of Mrs Long-Bailey, the MP for Salford and Eccles, who retweeted an interview with actor and Labour supporter Maxine Peake.

In the article, Ms Peake discussed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, saying that the "tactics" US police used in kneeling on Mr Floyd's neck were "learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services".

Image caption Maxine Peake is known for legal drama Silk, Victoria Wood sitcom Dinnerladies and Channel 4 show Shameless

The Independent article also quoted the Israeli police denying Ms Peake's claim saying: "There is no tactic or protocol that calls to put pressure on the neck or airway."

Mrs Long-Bailey - who was beaten to the party leadership by Sir Keir - later said she had not meant to endorse all aspects of the article.

Later on Thursday, Ms Peake tweeted that she had been "inaccurate in my assumption of American police training and its sources".

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Media captionStarmer: "I've made it my first priority to tackle anti-Semitism"

At the time, Sir Keir said the sharing of the article was "wrong" because it contained "anti-Semitic conspiracy theories" and his "first priority" was to "tackle anti-Semitism" and rebuild trust with the Jewish community.

Sir Keir later defended his decision to sack shadow minister Mrs Long-Bailey after a virtual meeting with some left-wing Labour MPs who had voiced concerns about her removal.

Jewish groups and some MPs welcomed Sir Keir's decision but Mrs Long-Bailey's allies on the party's left said it had been an overreaction.

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