South London MPs Steve Reed and Vicky Foxcroft, already in Labour’s frontbench team, have been reshuffled today into new positions.
Former social worker Emma Lewell-Buck quit in March as shadow minister for children and families, a position she had occupied since October 2016. As a representative of South Shields constituency, part of South Tyneside District Council which voted 62% for Leave, she left the opposition frontbench in order to defy the party whip on Brexit and abstain on a vote concerning a fresh EU referendum.
Steve Reed, MP for Croydon North, has been appointed as the new shadow minister for children today. He says he is “delighted” by the move and “passionate about better support for vulnerable young people”. Education lead Angela Rayner tweeted: “Steve brings a wealth of experience to the role and can get to work straight away holding the government to account, so pleased.”
Reed had been shadow civil society minister and recently set out a new strategy for Labour in that role. Launched only earlier this month, it promised that the party would: repeal the Lobbying Act; ban gagging clauses attached to government contracts and grants; introduce a new Community Empowerment Charter; and create a new Public Right to Space. Broadly, the approach was designed to decentralise public ownership and democratise the economy, while strengthening communities and civil society.
This work will now be carried out by Vicky Foxcroft, MP for Lewisham Deptford, who has moved from the Labour whips office to replace Reed as shadow minister for civil society. She had been an opposition whip since September 2015, when Jeremy Corbyn first appointed his full shadow frontbench team.