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Welsh MPs named on Labour's front bench in reshuffle.

Byline: David Williamson Political Editor david.williamson@walesonline.co.uk

JEREMY Corbyn has announced 20 appointments to Labour's frontbench in the House of Commons, including six who had previously resigned positions in his shadow team.

Three MPs elected to the Commons for the first time in last month's General Election were also among the appointments, as well as four who returned to Westminster in June having departed at earlier elections. And four Welsh Labour MPs have joined Mr Corbyn's frontbench team.

His Shadow Cabinet already includes Pontypridd MP Owen Smith, who serves as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, Llanelli MP Nia Griffith, who is Shadow Defence Secretary, and Neath MP and Shadow Welsh Secretary Christina Rees.

Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds joins the Home Affairs team. Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris will now speak on Women and Equalities.

Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP Gerald Jones will be a Shadow Defence Minister. Chris Ruane, who lost his Vale of Clwyd seat in 2015 but won it back last month, is now on the Wales team.

Mr Corbyn said: "I'm delighted to be filling Labour's shadow front bench with a wealth of talent. Our new shadow ministers will bolster the excellent work of Labour's Shadow Cabinet and departmental teams. These appointments are further evidence that Labour is not just the Opposition - we are the Government in waiting."

The announcement will be seen as a move to unite a party which less than a year ago was heading into a leadership election.

Rachael Maskell (York Central) joins the Transport team five months after quitting the frontbench to defy a three-line whip and vote against the triggering of Article 50 to take Britain out of the EU.

Ashfield MP Gloria de Piero and Great Grimsby's Melanie Onn return to the frontbench a year after joining the mass resignation of shadow ministers in the wake of the EU referendum in June 2016. Ms de Piero, who last year told Mr Corbyn she was quitting because she did not believe he could deliver victory, takes a post in the justice team while Ms Onn becomes a housing spokeswoman.

Holly Lynch (Halifax) takes an environment brief less than a year after resigning as an opposition whip in protest at the sacking of Rosie Winterton as chief whip.

There were also jobs for Roberta Blackman-Woods and Karl Turner, who took part in June 2016's mass resignation but returned to the frontbench later that year after Mr Corbyn's re-election as leader.

New MPs joining the frontbench less than a month after their arrival in the Commons were Paul Sweeney (Glasgow North-East), Afzal Khan (Manchester Gorton) and Anneliese Dodds (Oxford East).

Left-wingers David Drew and Chris Williamson, who lost their seats at earlier elections before returning to the Commons last month, were fast-tracked back on to the frontbenches.

There was also a slot in the shadow team for Tony Lloyd, who was a minister under Tony Blair and chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party before quitting Parliament in 2012 to run for Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, and is now MP for Rochdale.

Former Coronation Street actress Tracy Brabin, who won Batley & Spen in the by-election forced by Jo Cox's murder last year and retained it in the 2017 election, takes up her first frontbench post in the education team.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Carolyn Harris, Gerald Jones and Chris Ruane
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 4, 2017
Words:557
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