Emily Thornberry snubbed by Keir Starmer over Labour government job (2024)

A senior member of Keir Starmer's shadow cabinet voiced her shock and disappointment today after being snubbed for a government role.

Emily Thornberry, who was shadow attorney general until the election, said she had not been given a job by the party leader as he set out his first administration.

Sir Keir madehigh-profile human rights barrister Richard Hermer his Attorney General on Friday, one in a series of technocratic appointments.

But over the weekend and into Monday, as more junior roles were dished out, there was no room for the Islington South and Finsbury MP, who was shadow foreign secretary under Jeremy Corbyn.

Ms Thornberry's career has been overshadowed by a number of high profile gaffes, including sneering at a house for proudly flying the England flag.

And during the election campaign she was slapped down by a shadow Cabinet colleague for saying that it was 'fine' if the manifesto pledge to make private schools pay VAT increased the size of state school classes.

In a statement on X, Ms Thornberry pointed out she had been in the shadow cabinet for more than eight years, adding: 'I am very sorry and surprised not to be able to continue that work in government, but I wish all my brilliant colleagues well, and I know that Richard Hermer KC - a much more accomplished lawyer than I could ever hope to be - will do an outstanding job as Attorney General.

Emily Thornberry, who was shadow attorney general until the election, said she had not been given a job by the party leader as he set out his first administration

Sir Keir made high-profile human rights barrister Richard Hermer his Attorney General on Friday, one in a series of technocratic appointments

In a statement on X Ms Thornberry pointed out she had been in the shadow cabinet for more than eight years

'Nothing in the personal disappointment I feel can detract from the amazing and historic victory that all of us in the Labour movement worked together to win last week, and the chance we now have to change the country for the better.'

It is understood that Ms Thornberry could still be offered a role by Sir Keir that sits outside the Government.

He later insisted she has a 'big part to play' in Labour.Speaking to reporters in Wales, the Prime Minister said: 'I'm putting together a very strong team based on delivering.

'We got a very strong mandate at the general election, a mandate for change, a mandate for doing politics differently, and about service. That's why I'm putting my team together.

'Emily Thornberry has been fantastic, she's got a big part to play, as has every single one of my now 412 Labour MPs.

'But it's very important that we demonstrate the progress we're making, which is why I've been to Scotland, to Northern Ireland, and now to Wales to reset the relations.'

Who's in Keir's Cabinet?

  • Angela Rayner - Deputy PM, Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary
  • Rachel Reeves- Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • David Lammy - Foreign Secretary
  • Yvette Cooper - Home Secretary
  • John Healey- Defence Secretary
  • Wes Streeting- Health Secretary
  • Bridget Phillipson- Education Secretary
  • Shabana Mahmood - Justice Secretary
  • Pat McFadden- Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
  • Ed Miliband- Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary
  • Liz Kendall - Work and Pensions Secretary
  • Jonathan Reynolds - Business and Trade Secretary
  • Peter Kyle - Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary
  • Louise Haigh- Transport Secretary
  • Lisa Nandy - Culture Secretary
  • Steve Reed- Environment Secretary
  • Darren Jones- Chief Secretary to the Treasury
  • Richard Hermer - Attorney General
  • Ian Murray - Scottish Secretary
  • Hilary Benn - Northern Ireland Secretary
  • Jo Stevens- Welsh Secretary
  • Lucy Powell - Leader of the House of Commons
  • Baroness Smith- Leader of the House of Lords
  • Sir Alan Campbell - Chief Whip

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Mr Hermer, who was called to the Bar in 1993 and appointed Queen's Counsel 16 years later, is arguably one of the most surprising appointments to Sir Keir's cabinet.

It was thought the now Prime Minister would appoint Ms Thornberry, but she was brutally brushed aside in favour of Mr Hermer who has been given a peerage to take on the role.

Mr Hermer is a deputy high court judge assigned to the King's bench division and administrative court. He has previously shown his support for Palestinian people as a human rights lawyer.

Last year, he was one of a number of signatories of a letter written to the then Foreign Secretary James Cleverly which stated the 'Israeli government is led by a coalition of far-right parties whose common goal is the formal annexation of the West Bank and the extension of a one-state reality of unequal rights over more than five million Palestinians under occupation'.

Labour's historic landslide election victory has left a Tory bloodbath in its wake as several notable figures from the previous cabinet failed to win over the electorate.

And as the new cabinet make their way to Downing Streetwith many shadow ministers being promoted - certain decisions have left eyebrows raised.

James Timpson, chief executive of his father's Timpsons shoe repair chain business, was madethe minister for Prisons, Parole and Probation during the Prime Minister's appointments.

Another recognisable face joining the ranks of Starmer's new roster is Sir Patrick Vallance - who acted as a chief scientific adviser during the COVID-19pandemic.

Now serving as the Minister of State of science, the 64-year-old was nicknamed 'Dr Doom' during the pandemic for being the face of SAGE's bleak projections.

Although Mr Timpson OBE's newly earned position was surprising, he is well renownedfor his work advocating for ex-convicts and passion for business.

Chair of the Employers Forum for Reducing Re-offending (EFFRR) until 2016, the Timpson's boss has been applauded for his schemes rehabilitating offenders.

That same year, he became Chair of the Prison Reform Trust establishing Employment Advisory Board network throughout the country to help improve job opportunities for prison leavers.

Richard Hermer (pictured at the weekend) already has a track record in working with Keir Starmer's Labour party, having advised them on the government's Economic Activity of Public Bodies Bill last Summer

For his very active work in getting disadvantaged people in employment and training, the new cabinet member was awarded in OBE in 2011.

Namely, the retailer's CEO employed ex-prisoners in branches of his family's business in a bid to rehabilitate them.

According to The Mirror, the UK business has now hired 600 ex-criminals throughout the UK.

He told the publication in 2019:'If you employ an ex-offender, someone long-term unemployed, a veteran, a care leaver, or someone who is disabled, the employer should not pay national insurance for the first 12 months.'

Sir Keiris also said to be looking to bring former Blairites back into the fold as he seeks to shore up relations with the US and drive forward reform of the NHS, sources say.

Alan Milburn, a former MP and Health Secretary under Tony Blair, is set to help reform the National Health Service in an as-yet undetermined role, according to The Telegraph.

The move is seen to indicate that the private sector will still be a core component of their vision for the service, with Mr Milburn allegedly advising new Health Secretary Wes Streeting to ensure they can 'hit the ground running', according to the newspaper.

David Miliband is also pegged for a return to politics, with party insiders telling The Sunthat Sir Keir has the new Energy Secretary's brother in consideration for the next ambassador to the United States - once the US elections conclude.

David Miliband served as Foreign Secretary under Gordon Brown between 2007 and 2010, and spent a year as Minister of State for Communities and Local Government when the role was created under Blair.

The Prime Minister has already taken strides in government with calls to foreign leaders and the appointment of a decorated cabinet of veteran politicians and field experts.

Emily Thornberry snubbed by Keir Starmer over Labour government job (2024)
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