Tracy Brabin steps down from Labour frontbench to focus on mayoral bid

Sienna Rodgers

Shadow minister for cultural industries Tracy Brabin has announced that she is stepping down from the Labour frontbench to focus on her mayoral campaign after being selected as the party’s West Yorkshire candidate.

Alison McGovern, who already serves as shadow sport minister in Labour’s digital, culture, media and sport team led by Jo Stevens, will now also take up the role around cultural industries, which have been hard-hit by Covid.

Announcing the move, the Batley and Spen MP tweeted: “In order to concentrate fully on becoming the Labour mayor of West Yorkshire I have taken the decision to step down as shadow minister for the cultural industries.

“Everyone I have been lucky enough to work with while in this role (and for years before!) know how much I love these industries – and in these difficult times they need someone who can champion and support them fully.

“So I’m delighted that @Alison_McGovern will take on this role, I know she’ll do an excellent job as she does with Sport. That said, I’m not going anywhere. A key plank of my campaign for the West Yorkshire Mayor is a creative new deal.

“So to the wonderful people who have shared their skills and knowledge and opened their doors to me in recent years, I’m going to be in touch very, very soon.

“I wish the fabulous Shadow DCMS team @JoStevensLabour @alexsobel @ChrisM4Chester @RachaelMaskell @ChiOnwurah @FeryalClark all the very best and I’ll be working closely with them from today onwards!

“I’d like to thank @Keir_Starmer for the opportunity and I look forward to campaigning shoulder to shoulder with him in the months ahead.

“To all the wonderful companies and people in the creative industries, I know how difficult this year has been for you. Your work is invaluable to our country and I’ll be with you 100% as you try to recover in 2021. My doors (and mailbox) is always open.”

Brabin received 4,389 first-preference votes from local party members in the internal contest that concluded on Friday, which saw her win the selection race against Susan Hinchcliffe and Hugh Goulbourne.

The former actor and television writer first elected to parliament in 2016 has committed to giving up her Westminster seat if elected as mayor of West Yorkshire, and will campaign on the pledge to launch a ‘creative new deal’.

In a piece for LabourList, Brabin wrote: “Calderdale is already vying to be the ‘Hollywood of the North’, BackStage Academy and Production Park in South Kirby are leading the way in creative skills and manufacturing.

“Channel 4’s relocation to Leeds and Sky’s £10m commitment to Black, Asian and minority ethnic content means opportunities for our diverse communities. Screen Yorkshire leads the country in training and apprenticeships.

“West Yorkshire can be a world leader bringing tourism, jobs, skills, opportunities, regeneration and investment into our communities.”

Update, December 17th: Alison McGovern has commented that the culture role is “home turf” for her. She has previously worked for the Art Fund charity and Creativity, Culture and Education foundation.

“I know that culture is the means by which everyone can tell their story, show themself, and who they want to be. It is profoundly necessary in our country. We all need culture,” she added.

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