NEWS / Blog / Proposing viable alternatives to improve policymaking


20 APR 2020


Gareth Lonie profiles Labour’s recent shadow cabinet announcements


ollowing a lengthy campaign, Keir Starmer emerged as the clear and decisive winner of the Labour leadership contest receiving 56% of the total first preference votes cast. One of Starmer’s first jobs has been to unveil positions in his shadow ministerial team with just six shadow cabinet members retaining their roles from the Corbyn era.

Despite the Government’s 80-seat majority, an opposition and shadow cabinet that can ask the right and tough questions while proposing viable alternatives will improve policymaking within our political system and presents opportunities for engagement on behalf of our industry.

The following announcements will be of interest to ACE and its members:

Anneliese Dodds as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. Dodds was appointed as a Shadow Treasury Minister by John McDonnell soon after her election, primarily covering the tax brief. A public policy academic by background, Dodds also served as a Member of the European Parliament for three years.

Nick Thomas-Symonds as Shadow Home Secretary. MP for Torfaen since 2015, this is a significant promotion for Thomas-Symonds who previously held a dual role as Shadow Security Minister and Shadow Solicitor General.

Ed Miliband as Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary. He will return to the Labour frontbench for the first time since his leadership under Sir Keir Starmer and may provide a more moderate voice within the cabinet. He is also an advocate for green energy and policies, so expect plenty of noise in this area.

Thangam Debbonaire as Shadow Housing Secretary. A relative parliamentary newcomer, 53-year-old Ms Debbonaire first became an MP in the 2015 General Election. She then went on to become shadow arts and culture minister in January 2016 under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

An opposition and shadow cabinet that can ask the right and tough questions, while proposing viable alternatives, will improve policymaking within our political system. Gareth Lonie

Jim McMahon as Shadow Transport Secretary. He served on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority with lead responsibility for transport before moving to Parliament to become and MP in 2015. After becoming an MP, he was appointed shadow minister for local government and devolution in 2016.

Luke Pollard has retained his position as Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary. This appointment serves as further indication that Starmer’s shadow cabinet is likely to build on many of the green positions put forward by the party under Jeremy Corbyn.

The magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis is such that we are moving in strange and unprecedented political times. All of this means that we will have to continue our ongoing engagement with Ministers, as well as proactively engaging with the opposition to make the strong case that our industry is part of the solution to kick-starting the economy and returning the country onto a path of growth.

Gareth is Policy Executive at ACE.

Gareth Lonie

Gareth Lonie

Regional Policy Manager

Gareth leads our stakeholder engagement in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and across the English regions.