Rebecca Long-Bailey, the MP for Salford, has been promoted to the job of shadow business secretary, as Jeremy Corbyn replaces the members of the shadow cabinet who resigned rather than vote to trigger article 50 and begin the Brexit process.
Long-Bailey, a solicitor and close ally of John McDonnell who is regarded by some as a potential successor to Corbyn, takes the place of Clive Lewis, the Norwich South MP who resigned on Wednesday night before voting against the government’s Brexit bill.
Labour also announced that the Workington MP Sue Hayman would be shadow environment secretary; the Neath MP Christina Rees would be shadow Welsh secretary; and the Bootle MP Peter Dowd would replace Long-Bailey as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.
Corbyn has carried out five reshuffles since taking the leadership in 2015, in response to a series of resignations including the mass walkout that preceded Owen Smith’s leadership challenge last summer.
Long-Bailey, the daughter of a Salford docker, whose 2015 election campaign was backed by the Unite trade union, is Corbyn’s fourth shadow business secretary – a key position, given the party’s hope of winning back its reputation for economic competence.
The Brexit bill will now move on to the House of Lords, where Labour has tabled eight amendments. Angela Smith, Labour’s leader in the Lords, hopes to push the government to make a firmer commitment on giving parliament a meaningful vote on the final deal and to safeguard…