LONDON: The newly elected leader of Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer has added six British Pakistani parliamentarians to the new shadow cabinet.
Sir Keir Starmer, a former human rights lawyer and director of public prosecutions, has been picked as the new Labour leader by an overwhelming margin, heralding a fresh chapter in the party’s history after five years under Jeremy Corbyn.
Those British Pakistani Members of Parliament (MPs) who have been given responsibilities in the shadow cabinet are Khalid Mahmood, Dr Rosens Allin Khan, Yasmeen Qureshi, Afzal Khan, Naz Shah and Imran Hussain.
All of them were part of the previous shadow cabinet too under leadership of Jeremy Corbyn but in different roles. Interestingly, none of them nominated Sir Keir Starmer for leadership. Khalid Mahmood, Yasmeen Qureshi, Afzal Khan and Naz Shah supported Emily Thornberry for leadership, while Imran Hussain vouched for Rebecca Long-Bailey to succeed Jeremy Corbyn, the outgoing party leader.
Khalid Mahmood has been appointed as new SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE PROCUREMENT. Khalid, who is currently the most senior member of Parliament of Muslim faith and of Pakistani origin, was first elected MP in 2001 from Birmingham-Perry Barr, a constituency he has successfully held since then. Khalid Mahmood was appointed Shadow Minister for Europe in 2016 by Jeremy Corbyn, then Labour leader.
Upon his appointment as the new shadow minister for defence in a massage on Twitter Khalid thanked Leader Keir Starmer. “I look forward to the challenge and planned work ahead. Proud to have this fantastic opportunity,” said Khalid Mahmood.
Dr Rosena Allin Khan was the first MP of Pakistani origin to be included in the shadow cabinet when she was appointed shadow minister for mental health in the first wave of appointments by Keir Starmer.
She was first elected from Tooting in 2016, when the seat became vacant after local MP Sadiq Khan became mayor of London.
In a massage on Twitter, Dr Roaena Allin Khan said: “Delighted to be called by Keir Starmer earlier and to have been asked to join the shadow cabinet as the shadow minister for mental health, working with the fabulous Jonathan Ashworth (shadow health secretary). I’ll be back on the NHS frontline in coming days!”
Afzal Khan, Member of Parliament from Manchester-Gorton, has also returned to the shadow cabinet but in a different role. Afzal, who was first elected MP in 2017 elections, served as shadow minister for immigration in the last shadow cabinet.
In a massage on Twitter, expressing his delight to become a shadow minister and part of Keir Starmer’s new team, Afzal said: “I look forward to working with Valerie Vaz (shadow leader of the House) at this crucial time as we consider how Parliament can adjust its working practices in light of coronavirus.”
Responding to a question about his new role and responsibilities, Afzal Khan said: “In essence, the role is to deal with all the business in the Parliament. It is a good place to understand everything that government is doing and opportunity to do good networking with government ministers and shadow ministers.”
Naz Shah, the MP for Bradford West since 2015, who has served as shadow minister for women and equalities in the last shadow cabinet, has been appointed now as shadow minister for community cohesion by Keir Starmer.
She termed it a huge honour for herself to join the front bench where she will be part of shadow secretary for communities and local government Steve Reed’s team. MP Imran Hussain has also made it to shadow cabinet gain. Imran Hussain has been appointed as shadow minister for employment rights and protection.
In a massage, Imran Hussain thanked leader Keir Starmer and said: “Employment rights are the very heart of the labour movement, and I'm looking forward to working with Andy McDonald (shadow secretary), our trade unions and others to deliver protections fit for the 21st century.” Bolton South-East MP Yasmin Qureshi has also been included in the shadow cabinet by Keir Starmer.
She’s been appointed shadow minister for international development and will be part of Labour’s shadow DFID team.
“Honoured and excited to be joining the Labour DFID team. I'm looking forward to getting started with Stephen Doughty, Anna McMorrin and shadow secretary Preet Gill at a time when international development has never been more important,” said Yasmin in a massage on Twitter.