Keir Starmer appoints new shadow skills minister

Toby Perkins has been replaced by Seema Malhotra as shadow skills minister

Toby Perkins has been replaced by Seema Malhotra as shadow skills minister

Seema Malhotra has replaced Toby Perkins as the shadow minister for skills.

Malhotra joins the shadow education team under the shadow secretary of state for education, Bridget Phillipson, who kept her job in Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet reshuffle yesterday.

Perkins has been moved to Labour’s shadow Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) team.

“I’m honoured to have been appointed @UKLabour’s new shadow minister for skills. I can’t wait to get to work with [Bridget Phillipson] and the rest of the shadow education team to deliver on our mission to break down the barriers to opportunity at every stage,” Malhotra posted on X.

Nine shadow front bench appointments were announced this evening, including Catherine McKinnell who returns to the shadow education team as shadow schools minister.

Malhotra has been the Labour and Co-op MP for Feltham and Heston in West London for 12 years and was previously the shadow minister for business and consumers.

Before entering parliament, Malhotra was a child safety adviser in the video game and film industries. Her official biography also points to strategy and IT roles at Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

The shadow skills brief is Malhotra’s sixth shadow front bench role, with previous jobs shadowing the Home Office, as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury and shadow employment minister.

Malhotra also chairs the all-party parliamentary groups for Entrepreneurship, mortgage prisoners and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Outside of parliament she is president of the Fabian Women’s Network and is a former chair of the Fabian Society.

She replaces Toby Perkins who has shadowed the skills brief since April 2020. The MP for Chesterfield has fronted Labour’s skills policies, like replacing the apprenticeship levy and introducing Skills England, and committed a future Labour government to ringfence spending on SME apprenticeships.

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