Gareth Thomas MP is new shadow minister for civil society

10 Oct 2011 News

Labour leader Ed Miliband has today announced the full team he hopes will support him to win the next election, including Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas as the new shadow minister for civil society.

Gareth Thomas, new shadow minister for civil society

Labour leader Ed Miliband has today announced the full team he hopes will support him to win the next election, including Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas as the new shadow minister for civil society.

Thomas (pictured), 44, is a Labour and Co-operative Party politician who has has held his seat for the last 14 years. He is chair of the Co-operative Party.

He was most recently shadow minister for higher education and science and before that held the shadow brief at DfID.

Before Labour lost the election, Thomas was a minister of state at the former Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and at DfID.  He has also been  parliamentary private secretary to Charles Clarke.

According to political watchdog website They Work for You, Thomas has voted very strongly for foundation hospitals, the hunting ban and gay rights, strongly for ID cards and moderately for university tuition fees.

Thomas' boss will be Jon Trickett who was unveiled last week as the new shadow minister for the Cabinet Office. The four other members of the shadow Cabinet Office team are Michael Dugher, Lord Stewart Wood, Lord Philip Hunt and Baroness Jan Royall.

Roberta Blackman-Woods, Nick Hurd's former shadow for civil society affairs, has moved into the Communities and Local Government team as shadow minister for planning.

Trickett has until now held no frontbench roles. Having entered Parliament in 1996, he has been MP for the Hemsworth constituency and is a born and bred Yorkshireman. According to They Work for You, Trickett voted strongly for a stricter asylum policy and for the hunting ban, but has also shown strong support for more liberal policies such as equal gay rights, and voted against the rise in student tuition fees.

Yvette Cooper will remain as shadow Home Secretary and as shadow minister for women and equalities. Married to Ed Balls, Cooper was part of the Cabinet from 2008 - 2010 during Labour's leadership.

Hilary Benn, former shadow leader of the House of Commons, becomes shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He is widely experienced in the Labour Party having served under Gordon Brown as Secretary of State for Rural Affairs from June 2007 - May 2010, and under Tony Blair as Secretary of State for International Development from October 2003 - June 2007. His father, Tony Benn, is a fellow Labour MP and president of the Stop the War Coalition.

Former shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Ivan Lewis has become shadow Secretary of State for international development. He was previously the parliamentary under-Secretary of State for International Development from October 2008 - June 2009 and Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under Gordon Brown from June 2009 - May 2010.

Full details of Ed Miliband's frontbench can be found here.

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