Catherine McKinnell has been appointed as shadow schools minister in Labour’s frontbench reshuffle.
The Newcastle North MP and former shadow children’s minister replaced Stephen Morgan, who has been moved to Labour’s transport team as shadow rail minister.
Party leader Sir Keir Starmer reshuffled his top team this week in preparation for next year’s general election, starting with the shadow cabinet on Monday.
Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson was re-appointed to her post. She said McKinnell would be “focusing on delivering high and rising standards in all our schools for all our children”.
A former member of the Parliamentary education committee, McKinnell has been an MP since 2010.
McKinnell said she was “absolutely delighted to be joining Labour’s frontbench as shadow schools minister and working with Bridget Phillipson and the education team”.
“All children deserve the best start in life. I’m looking forward to working to make that a reality with a Labour government.”
McKinnell is the fifth MP to serve as shadow schools minister in three years.
Morgan praises schools’ ‘devotion to children’
Morgan had been in post since December 2021. He tweeted his “sincere thanks to the entire schools sector who I greatly enjoyed working with over the past two years”.
“Your passion and devotion to children up and down the country never ceases to amaze. I’m delighted that schools will continue to have a champion in Catherine McKinnell.”
The party has also announced that Seema Malhotra has been appointed shadow skills minister, replacing Toby Perkins.
Helen Hayes, the shadow children’s minister, and Matt Western, shadow minister for higher education, kept their jobs in the reshuffle.
McKinnell grew up in Newcastle and attended Sacred Heart Comprehensive School in Fenham. She studied politics and history at Edinburgh and then Law at Northumbria before working as an employment solicitor.
She was shadow solicitor general from 2010 to 2011 before a brief stint as shadow children’s minister between 2011 and 2012.
The MP then served as shadow exchequer secretary to the Treasury from 2012 to 2015 and then briefly as shadow attorney general from 2015 to 2016. Until this week, she was chair of Parliament’s petitions committee.
Phillipson said this week he was “delighted to welcome the new shadow education team”.
“By contrast the Conservatives have started the new term as they mean to go on — with a staggering display of incompetence as they fail our children again.”