Kate Green replaces Rebecca Long-Bailey as Shadow Education Secretary

Keir Starmer has appointed Kate Green to replace Rebecca Long-Bailey, who was sacked this week, as Labour’s new Shadow Education Secretary.

The Labour leader 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.”

Green added: “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.”

The Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston was first elected to parliament in May 2010. Before becoming an MP, she was chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group and previously director of the National Council for One-Parent Families.

The appointment adds another Fabian Society MP to Labour’s frontbench, which already heavily features members of the Labour-affiliated organisation – including Keir Starmer himself. Green chaired the Fabians from 2016 until last year.

It has been welcomed by the Labour Against Private Schools campaign group, which has tweeted that Green was the first Labour MP to support the ‘Abolish Eton’ initiative and in 2019 organised an event in parliament on phasing out private schools.

Green backed Yvette Cooper for the leadership in 2015. She was promoted to the shadow cabinet in the women and equalities role by Jeremy Corbyn, but joined the mass resignation in 2016. She subsequently chaired the Owen Smith campaign.

Starmer appointed her to the frontbench in April as a shadow minister in the work and pensions team, led by Jonathan Reynolds, in a role focusing on Labour’s child poverty strategy.

Green has written comment pieces in the past for LabourList on public attitudes towards immigration, using foreign aid to help refugees, giving asylum seekers the right to work, adapting to automation and treating disabled people with dignity.

She described Labour’s promises to scrap university tuition fees and offer free school meals to all primary school children as “powerful domestic policy commitments” in a 2018 LabourList piece.

In 2016, she wrote an article for The New Statesman arguing that Corbyn did not understand the concerns of women in the parliamentary party around sexist abuse, and complained that he had argued the sex industry should be decriminalised without consulting the shadow cabinet.

Long-Bailey was sacked by Starmer from the education post on Thursday after she shared an interview containing the claim that US police learnt the tactic of kneeling on people’s necks “from seminars with Israeli secret services”.

The Labour leader’s spokesperson described the claim in question as “an antisemitic conspiracy theory” and said “Keir has been clear that restoring trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority”. Starmer rejected pleas from Labour left MPs to reinstate her.

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