Wes Streeting, James Murray, Abena Oppong-Asare given new frontbench roles

Sienna Rodgers
© David Woolfall/CC BY 3.0

Wes Streeting, James Murray and Abena Oppong-Asare have been given new roles by Keir Starmer today, LabourList can reveal, as a Labour frontbench reshuffle takes place following resignations this week.

Shadow ministers Dan Carden and Margaret Greenwood quit their posts on Thursday in order to defy the Labour whip and vote against the covert human intelligence sources (criminal conduct) bill at third reading.

Wes Streeting, previously shadow exchequer secretary to the Treasury, has replaced Margaret Greenwood as shadow schools minister. He wrote for LabourList in June about receiving free school meals.

The Ilford North MP was president of the National Union of Students between 2008 and 2010, and also served as a member of the national committee of Labour Students for four years around this time.

Commenting on his new role, Streeting tweeted: “Having grown up on a council estate, on free school meals, experiencing child poverty in the 1980s, I wouldn’t be where I am today without a great state education.”

Abena Oppong-Asare has replaced Streeting in his old shadow Treasury team role. The 2019 intake MP had been parliamentary private secretary to Anneliese Dodds and Bridget Phillipson in the same team since April.

Oppong-Asare was elected as MP for Erith and Thamesmead for the first time last year. The chair of Labour Women’s Network has written about homelessness twice for LabourList since entering parliament.

James Murray, who was in the Labour whips office until now, has been picked to replace left-winger Dan Carden as shadow financial secretary to the Treasury. He was also elected for the first time in 2019.

Murray is considered to be on the ‘soft left’ of the party. When running for selection in Ealing North last year, he was the leadership’s preferred candidate and his bid was backed by Unite the Union.

The MPs who have been promoted are seen by those close to the Labour leadership as strong broadcast performers, and they are being allocated to policy briefs thought likely to be crucial in 2024.

LabourList understands that further appointments will be confirmed in the coming days, as former PPSs Nav Mishra, Kim Johnson, Mary Foy, Rachel Hopkins and Sarah Owen also need to be replaced on the opposition frontbench.

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