Keir Starmer has defied left-wingers within the Labour Party by appointing the woman who chaired a campaign to oust Jeremy Corbyn as his new shadow education secretary.
Kate Green replaces Rebecca Long-Bailey, once viewed as Corbyn’s anointed successor, who was sacked on Thursday after retweeting an article containing what the Labour leader described as “antisemitic conspiracy theories”.
Ms Green resigned from Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet in 2016 in protest at his leadership, and later became chair of Owen Smith’s campaign to challenge him for the party’s top job.
She returned to the front bench on Starmer’s election as Corbyn’s successor in April, serving as shadow minister for child poverty strategy.
Sir Keir said he was “delighted” to appoint her to the education brief, saying: “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 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.”
Her comment may reflect a determination on the part of the leadership to counter Boris Johnson’s accusation that Starmer is holding back from endorsing a return to school for fear of antagonising education unions.
Green, 60, was director of the National Council for One Parent Families and chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group before being elected MP for Stretford and Urmston in 2010.
After quitting as Corbyn’s shadow minister for women and equalities, Ms Green accused the then Labour leader of “carelessness, indifference and ignorance” over gender issues, and said that complaints of intimidation and bullying of women in the party had been given a “dismissive response” by his office.
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