Emily Thornberry ‘sorry and surprised’ not to be given cabinet role by Starmer

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The former shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry has said she is “very sorry and surprised” not to be appointed to the role in the new Labour cabinet, after Keir Starmer appointed the human rights barrister Richard Hermer instead.

Thornberry, who was a longstanding member of the shadow cabinet under Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn, had been widely expected to get another post but has not so far been offered one.

Thornberry said she was leaving cabinet “after eight-and-a-half unbroken years … a longer record of service than anyone else”. She said she had “always worked my hardest to keep the Labour party united”.

She said she wished the new cabinet well and said Hermer was “a much more accomplished lawyer than I could ever hope to be”. She added: “Nothing in the personal disappointment I feel can detract from the amazing and historic victory” and said she would give her “unstinting loyalty” to Starmer.

Her statement came amid a range of new appointments by the prime minister, including that of transport minister for Peter Hendy, the chair of Network Rail and a former head of Transport for London (TfL), who was previously a crossbench peer.

Labour has plans to renationalise the rail network as well as introduce bus franchising, giving new powers to local areas over bus routes, which is the system Transport for London currently operates.

Anneliese Dodds, the former party chair, was confirmed as development minister and will lead on the women and equalities portfolio, attending cabinet. However, this meant the party would not have a dedicated secretary of state for women and equalities, which had been promised.

Bridget Phillipson, the education secretary, took on the nominal position of women and equalities minister because constitutionally that role must be held by a full-time cabinet minister.

In addition, Spencer Livermore, a key Labour strategist during Tony Blair’s government, was appointed as financial secretary to the Treasury.

The new ministerial appointments also signalled a shake-up of those who occupied some of the roles in opposition. Stephen Kinnock, the former shadow immigration minister, became a minister in the Department of Health and Social Care. Angela Eagle, a minister under Tony Blair, joined the Home Office as a minister.

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Nick Thomas-Symonds, who was Starmer’s original choice for shadow home secretary, became paymaster general, which was the shadow role held by Jonathan Ashworth until he lost his seat at the election. Thomas-Symonds was also given the portfolio of relations with EU states.

Diana Johnson, the former chair of the home affairs select committee, became a Home Office minister. Heidi Alexander, a Labour MP who returned to parliament at the election having left to become a deputy mayor of London under Sadiq Khan, was appointed as a justice minister.

Catherine McKinnell, another select committee chair, was made an education minister, as was Chris Bryant, with a joint portfolio in science and culture. Alison McGovern, who stepped up to cover for the now work and pensions secretary, Liz Kendall, while she took leave for an operation, became a minister in that department, along with Stephen Timms.

Source: theguardian.com

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