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Labour axes dedicated equalities role as Corbyn struggles to fill top team

Nick Duffy July 4, 2016

The Labour Party will no longer have a dedicated shadow cabinet minister for equalities.

The opposition party is currently gripped by a crisis as MPs call for the removal of leader Jeremy Corbyn – with more than two-thirds of Mr Corbyn’s own shadow cabinet resigning and calling on him to step down.

Among those to quit was the Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Kate Green.

Mr Corbyn had pledged to carry on and re-appoint a new senior team, but appears to be struggling to find MPs to serve under him – with more than 40 vacancies on his frontbench

Amid the strain, the Labour Party has now axed the dedicated cabinet role of Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, with responsibilities for equalities issues combined into the brief of new shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.

Introducing a dedicated shadow cabinet-level equalities minister had been an achievement of former leader Ed Miliband, with Gloria De Piero and Kate Green having filled the brief.

But the party will now apparently mirror the Conservatives on equalities issues – with the equalities brief is handed out as a secondary role to a high-ranking minister.

Conservative minister Nicky Morgan is her party’s Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities.

Ms Rayner, the third shadow education secretary in seven days, said her new role would bring “accountability”.

The MP said she was “honoured to serve my Party” in the dual role, which she claims will “directly hold Nicky Morgan to account”

 

Lord Cashman, who resigned as Labour’s LGBT Rights envoy last month, called on Mr Corbyn to restore the dedicates equalities role and appoint a new LGBT envoy.

He told PinkNews: “Now is not the time to diminish the priority of equalities.

“It’s precisely time to restate them as part of our values within the EU, and a Britain that might be out of the EU. Time is of the essence.”

The equalities role is not the only area where efficiencies are evident in the new Shadow Cabinet.

Paul Flynn is serving as both Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, while English MP David Anderson is serving simultaneously as Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.

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