Watson named shadow Culture Secretary as Corbyn completes reshuffle



Tom Watson has been appointed shadow Culture Secretary as Jeremy Corbyn put the final touches to his new shadow Cabinet.

Watson, who proved the scourge of the Murdochs during his time on the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, replaces Kelvin Hopkins, who wanted to return to the backbenches.

It comes months after Watson tried to broker talks between Corbyn and the trade unions that could have seen the leader stand down.

Watson, who is already deputy leader with his own mandate, was the final major appointment at the end of a two-day reshuffle which began when Rosie Winterton was sacked as chief whip.

Jon Ashworth, the centrist who was earlier promoted to shadow Health Secretary, has lost his place on Labour’s ruling national executive committee (NEC). He is replaced by Corbyn ally Kate Osamor while Jon Trickett and Rebecca Long-Bailey retain their places on the body.

John Healey, who was a Treasury minister in the Blair government, returns to another of his former beats as shadow Secretary of State for Housing and Teresa Pearce is now shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary as she covers for Grahame Morris, who is on leave.

Tonight Corbyn said he had brought together a “strong and diverse” shadow Cabinet.

“Following my re-election as Leader of the Labour Party I have made a number of new appointments to Labour’s Shadow Cabinet. For the first time, two of the three ‘great offices of state’ are shadowed by women. Once again the Shadow Cabinet has a majority of women, and has more black and minority ethnic appointees than any shadow cabinet or cabinet ever.

“I have acted to bring together a strong and diverse opposition leadership team. Our aim is to deliver what millions of people are demanding: a Labour Party focussed on holding this divisive government to account and winning the next general election.”

Watson said: “I’m looking forward to working with Jeremy to develop Labour’s policy on introducing the arts pupil premium to every child of primary school age.”

“There should be no class ceiling placed on anyone who wants to contribute to or enjoy our artistic, musical and sporting heritage. I also want our globally successful games industry to be given the recognition it deserves.”

Andrew Gwynne has been named shadow Cabinet minister without portfolio, to replace Ashworth.

Valerie Vaz has become shadow Leader of the House meaning the 81-year-old Paul Flynn drops out of the shadow Cabinet after covering this role and also Welsh affairs, which has gone to Jo Stevens.

The full list of shadow Cabinet appointments is available here.

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