Sir Keir Starmer has appointed banker-turned child poverty activist Kate Green MP as Labour’s new Shadow Education Secretary today.
The Stretford and Urmston MP replaces Rebecca Long Bailey, who was sacked from the frontbench for allegedly peddling an ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theory’.
Sir Keir said: ‘I’m delighted to appoint Kate Green as shadow education secretary.
‘Kate has spent a lifetime campaigning against child poverty and educational inequalities. I look forward to working with her in this new role.’
Ms Green, the newly-appointed Labour shadow cabinet member, said: ‘It’s a privilege to have been asked to serve as shadow education secretary.
‘The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on children’s education.
‘I look forward to working with teachers, unions, parents and councils to help ensure we get our children back in school as soon as possible.’
Sir Keir Starmer has appointed banker-turned child poverty activist Kate Green MP (pictured) as Labour’s new Shadow Education Secretary today
The Stretford and Urmston MP replaces Rebecca Long Bailey (right), who was sacked from the frontbench by Sir Keir (left) for allegedly peddling an ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theory’
For Ms Green, it is a return to the shadow cabinet after serving as shadow minister for women and equalities under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
She quit after the referendum, in what was seen by left-wing critics as a coup against the Islington North MP, 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 two months on.
The Stretford MP worked for Barclays Bank from 1982 to 1997 after university.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, welcomed Ms Green’s appointment, adding: ‘At a time of such difficulty for the early year sector, an effective opposition is more important than ever’.
Ms Green replaces Ms Long Bailey, who was sacked from the frontbench after allegedly peddling an ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theory’.
Ms Long Bailey had praised an interview with actress Maxine Peake, a Corbyn supporter, in which the 45-year-old ‘Shameless’ star claimed that Israeli spies had taught US police tactics which led to the killing of George Floyd.
A spokesman for the Labour leader confirmed he had asked her to step aside, and stressed his commitment to ‘restoring trust with the Jewish community’.
Sir Keir’s swift action was praised by Jewish organisations including the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council.
For Ms Green, the promotion is a return to the Shadow Cabinet after serving as Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities under Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn visits Stretford High School with Kate Green, in Trafford, March 2018
Ms Long Bailey was sacked from the frontbench after retweeting a link to the interview
He was also applauded by ex-PM Tony Blair, Lord Mandelson – a key New Labour architect – and former Home Secretary Lord Blunkett.
Ms Long Bailey’s sacking was seen by MPs like John McDonnell and Diane Abbott as a declaration of war by Sir Keir on the hard-Left of the party.
The Socialist Campaign Group – seen as the hard-Left caucus of the parliamentary party – said there had been ‘significant disagreement’ over the dismissal, and had urged Sir Keir in talks to reinstate Ms Long Bailey to his Shadow Cabinet.
Sir Keir’s office declined to comment on the meeting, but reiterated: ‘The article Rebecca shared earlier today contained an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
‘As leader of the Labour Party, Keir has been clear that restoring trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority. Anti-Semitism takes many different forms and it is important that we all are vigilant against it.’
In a statement following the talks, the Group said it had also raised the issue of the freedom of party members to speak out on the issue of Israel.
Actress Maxine Peake was accused of peddling an ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theory’ this week
John McDonnell weighed in to insist that Peake’s comment was legitimate criticism of Israel
Ms Long Bailey’s sacking was seen by MPs like John McDonnell and Diane Abbott as a declaration of war by Sir Keir on the hard-Left of the party
‘On the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey from the shadow cabinet, it was clear that significant disagreement remains on this point,’ the statement said.
‘The Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs made it clear that Rebecca Long Bailey should not have been sacked and should be reinstated.’
The Group then said: ‘The imminent annexation of the West Bank by Israel’s government was discussed and the need for the Labour Party, MPs, party members and supporters to speak out against Israel’s illegal annexation and ongoing human rights abuses by the government of Israel was raised. This was a businesslike exchange of views which took place in a mutually respectful manner.’
Ms Long Bailey had tweeted: ‘Today I retweeted an interview that my constituent and stalwart Labour Party supporter Maxine Peake gave to the Independent.
‘Its main thrust was anger with the Conservative government’s handling of the current emergency and a call for Labour Party unity. These are sentiments are shared by everyone in our movement and millions of people in our country.
‘I learned that many people were concerned by references to international sharing of training and restraint techniques between police and security forces. In no way was my retweet an intention to endorse every part of that article.’
Peake was forced to publicly condemn racism on Twitter and ‘clarified’ that the claims she had made were ‘inaccurate’.