Sharon Hodgson has been appointed as Keir Starmer’s new parliamentary private secretary, replacing Carolyn Harris who resigned from the post earlier this week, LabourList can reveal.
The parliamentary aide of the Labour leader acts as his ‘eyes and ears’ among Labour MPs, looking to foster good relations between the parliamentary party and the leadership.
Hodgson has been MP for Washington and Sunderland West since 2010, and previously served as the MP for Gateshead East and Washington West.
Labour sources have highlighted that she is a representative of a seat in the North East, where Labour recently lost Hartlepool in a devastating by-election defeat.
The appointment was quickly well-received by several LabourList sources in the parliamentary party – a positive development after Starmer had a difficult weekend with the controversial sacking of Angela Rayner.
Reacting to the news, a frontbencher said: “Great choice. Widely respected. Super supportive person. Also ex union organiser so has those skills. Understands the issues in places we’re losing votes and seats.”
Another shadow minister said: “An excellent move – she’s widely respected and liked across the party.”
A shadow cabinet source told LabourList: “She’s bloody brilliant. Absolutely what’s needed in that role. Fantastic campaigner as well such as on free school meals.”
Hodgson is from a working-class background. She worked as an accounts clerk before being a full-time mother, then volunteering for Labour in the 1997 general election campaign and becoming a party organiser.
The new PPS helped Siobhain McDonagh be re-elected in 2001 and worked as a Labour Link officer for UNISON. She was PPS to several cabinet ministers and served as assistant government whip.
Hodgson was shadow children and families minister under Ed Miliband. Though she quit the post and backed Owen Smith in the leadership, she later became shadow minister for public health under Jeremy Corbyn.
Harris reportedly quit amid accusations by MPs of spreading “salacious rumours” about Angela Rayner. The Labour deputy leader is understood to have requested the sacking of Starmer aides during the reshuffle.
Harris tweeted: “Huge congratulations to the brilliant @SharonHodgsonMP. She’s an absolute superstar, and will be a top-class PPS to @Keir_Starmer. It’s a tough gig, but I know Sharon will knock it out of the park.”