Sarah Jones, the MP for Croydon Central, will continue as a shadow minister after all, as Sir Keir Starmer, the new leader of the Labour Party, included her in his junior appointments last night.
But Jones is moved from housing policy to the Home Office team under shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds.
There, Jones is given responsibility for policing and the fire service, a significant recognition of the work she has done since 2017 on knife crime, having established the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime.
In the shadow Home Office team, Jones is joined by Jess Phillips, the controversial Birmingham MP who has spent the last five years working against getting a Labour Government elected. Infamously, when accused of betraying previous leader Jeremy Corbyn, Phillips said she would not stab Corbyn in the back. “I’d stab him in the front,” she said.
Starmer has given Phillips a role dealing with domestic violence and safeguarding.
For her part, Jones said, “Delighted to have been appointed shadow minister for policing and the fire service by Keir Starmer.
“Tackling knife crime has been a huge priority for me, as has the need for fire safety following the Grenfell Tower fire and it’s great to keep working on these crucial issues.”
And on the covid-19 emergency, Jones added, “I will work with the Government to do everything I can to make sure the police and fire services have the support they need to help us through this crisis. They are the best of us.”
Some in parliament had expected Jones to take a job on Starmer’s front bench. Members of Jones’s parliamentary staff had worked on the Starmer leadership campaign’s social media. And Sir Keir had attended a rally for Jones in Croydon during December’s General Election campaign.
But her appointment does mean that all three of Croydon’s MPs have now been appointed to government or opposition jobs.
Croydon North’s Steve Reed made Starmer’s front bench spokesman on local government earlier this week.
And Chris Philp, the Conservative MP for Croydon South, was “rewarded” for his dogged loyalty to the Tory cause when he was shunted from one parliamentary under-secretary role to another in Boris Johnson’s government’s reshuffle in February, moving to immigration compliance under Priti Patel at the Home Office.
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