Political editor WALTER CRONXITE on the latest job switch for one of Croydon’s Labour MPs
When it came, it had all the hallmarks of an after-thought. A dozen shadow cabinet appointments were announced just after 5pm yesterday, more than a day after the Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer, had revealed his “Blairism on steroids” new top team.
And there in the middle of the secondary announcement was a move for Sarah Jones, the MP for Croydon Central. According to Labour insiders, this change is a bit of a kindness from the party leader, as Jones could not any longer stand having to shadow the work of Chris Philp, the Tory MP for the neighbouring constituency of Croydon South.
Jones, 50, an MP since 2017, had been tipped for a promotion from her role as Shadow Policing Minister in the Starmer pre-election reshuffle. But when the big jobs were announced on Monday, her name was conspicuous by its absence.
Now, though, Jones has been given a job that previously did not exist. She has been moved to become Shadow Minister for Industry and Decarbonisation.
The party mouthpiece Labour List website reported, “The frontbench previously only had a Shadow Minister for Climate Change, and a Shadow Minister for Business and Industry, and the implications for their roles are not yet clear.”
Jones’s new job is among 12 “more junior posts” announced yesterday by Starmer, according to Labour List.
Labour insiders relate that Jones had become increasingly uncomfortable over the past year having to go to the Despatch Box against Philp, since he was fobbed off with the Police Minister’s role in his dramatic fall from grace in the catastrophe of Liz Truss’s government.
“MPs from the same area are usually expected to behave collegiately in Parliament, whatever their party affiliation, so Croydon MP v Croydon MP across the Chamber is usually avoided,” according to one source.
And another said, “Dealing with Philp presented particular problems for Sarah. It doesn’t matter how strong a case you make, he’ll just come back parroting the same lines that he was programmed to say earlier in the day.
“It’s like trying to debate with the hologram Rimmer.”
Whether there are other despicable Red Dwarf characters awaiting Jones in her decarbonisation role in the final days of this wretched and failed Conservative Government, only time will tell.
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