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Keir Starmer fills frontbench with experienced Whitehall names and MPs who quit under Corbyn

Sir Keir Starmer filled frontbench vacancies with rehabilitated shadow ministers who quit in protest of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, as he continued his pre-election reshuffle.

The Labour leader reached for MPs with experience in government and Whitehall, including former South Yorkshire metro mayor Dan Jarvis and ex-senior civil servant Sarah Jones.

He also brought back Labour figures who opposed Mr Corbyn in previous leadership races.

On the second day of his long-awaited reshuffle, Sir Keir filled junior roles left vacant after he reshaped his top team with a promotion of loyalists, Blairites and effective campaigners.

He announced Cat McKinnell, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North since 2010, as shadow schools minister. Ms McKinnell held numerous Shadow Cabinet posts before resigning under Mr Corbyn, citing party infighting, and backing his rival Owen Smith in Mr Smith’s failed leadership bid.

She was also the MP who first highlighted Rishi Sunak’s links to childcare company Koru Kids during the Prime Minister’s recent appearance at the Liaison Committee.

The PM was later found to have breached the MKinisterial Code for not declaring his wife’s stake in the company, which benefited directly from Budget announcements.

Seema Malhotra, who has been moved to shadow skills minister by Sir Keir, also resigned from Mr Corbyn’s top team in a protest against his leadership.

The MP for Feltham and Heston was previously an adviser to ministers in Gordon Brown’s government before entering parliament and holding several shadow cabinet posts.

Sarah Jones, the MP for Croydon Central who backed Sir Keir in the 2020 leadership contest, has been appointed shadow energy minister.

Her on-and-off professional ties with Labour go back to the 90s and she was also the senior civil servant working on the implementation of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Sir Keir named Mr Jarvis – a former Army officer and MP for Barnsley Central since 2011 – as a shadow home office minister.

He was mayor of South Yorkshire, formerly Sheffield City Region, for four years until 2022. He was widely rumoured to be considering a Labour leadership bid in 2015, before ruling himself out of the race.

The Labour leader also promoted former councillors and rising stars of the Labour Party – Alex Norris, MP for Nottingham North, and Abena Oppong-Asare, member for Erith and Thamesmead.

They have been given the respective roles of shadow policing minister and shadow women’s and mental health minister.

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