In an extraordinary move that both stamps his authority within the party and circumvents Labour party MP’s resistance for greater representation, the new Labour leader Ed Miliband promotes former Labour leader contender Diane Abbott to a significant position within his shadow ministerial team, whilst also promoting an unprecedented number of new BME MP’s to the shadow ministerial team.
Appointing Diane to a shadow minister for health, Miliband makes clear her role will be significant for the new opposition team. In a press release sent out by the leaders office it states:
“Public health will be at the heart of Labour’s policy agenda over the coming years, and represents a central plank of Labour’s attack on the coalition government’s plans to scale back Britain’s public services.”
Diane Abbot’s role will be crucial in an area that the Health frontbench team will focus on as a key weak-point of the coalition government – tackling health inequalities.
Ms Abbot will have a lead role in developing a community-by-community campaign for better public health – which demonstrates the belief within the opposition team that Labour must retain a strong campaigning focus, even when not in power.
Ed Miliband was impressed with Diane Abbott’s performance during the leadership campaign. He believes that she will bring passion, formidable communication skills and combative political abilities to this key role.”
Diane Abbott speaking exclusively to OBV stated,
“I’m pleased that I can use my energy and skills to challenge the Government on health policy and fight for those who can least defend themselves in this critical area. I’m particularly pleased how working class communities, BME communities, and organisations such as OBV are demanding that our parties and instutions are accountable and representative.”
Ms Abbott wasn’t the only beneficiary of the Leader’s new team. Sadiq Khan MP Miliband’s campaign manager has been rewarded with one of the most senior oppositions at the Ministry of Justice and rising star Chuka Umunna will be at the heart of the party’s new thinking as the Leaders Parliamentary Private Secretary. Other junior shadow ministerial promotions were given to newcomers Rushanara Ali MP, Shabana Mahmood MP and Chi Onwurah MP.
By Simon Woolley,