SCOTTISH Labour Leader Jim Murphy unveiled the final round of changes to the party’s frontbench team as his shadow cabinet met for the first time today.
Mr Murphy handed the key role of policy and manifesto coordinator to leadership campaign rival Sarah Boyack, with Neil Bibby being handed the job of chief whip after previously serving as a junior education spokesman.
Labour MSP James Kelly has been named as Scottish Labour’s 2016 Holyrood election coordinator and will work alongside the Ochil and South Perthshire MP Gordon Banks.
The shake-up will see MPs holding portfolio posts in Scottish Labour’s shadow cabinet for the first time ever, with Midlothian MP David Hamilton being handed a job as a party whip for Mr Murphy.
Tom Greatrex - a Labour energy spokesman at Westminster - will also be part of Mr Murphy’s team, while retaining his role on Ed Miliband’s frontbench in the Commons.
Meanwhile, Labour MSP Drew Smith, who is widely seen as a rising star at Holyrood, will serve as Mr Murphy’s parliamentary private secretary and trade union liaison officer.
The changes to Scottish Labour’s frontbench team comes just days Mr Murphy announced his shadow cabinet, with Jenny Marra appointed as shadow health secretary and former party leader Iain Gray made shadow education secretary.
Neil Findlay, who finished second in the three way leadership contest, was also kept in the shadow cabinet and now holds the fair work, skills and training portfolio. Mr Murphy announced appointments to Scottish Labour’s junior shadow ministerial ranks as his new look shadow cabinet met for the first time at Edinburgh University today.
Other senior figures at Westminster appointed to Mr Murphy’s team include former Scottish Labour deputy leader Cathy Jamieson, who will speak for the party on finance issues. Ms Jamieson is already part of Mr Miliband’s Treasury team at Westminster.
Labour MSPs elevated to the party’s frontbench include Anne McTaggart, who will be a culture spokeswoman for the party, as well as the parliament’s welfare reform committee convenor Michael McMahon, who will speak on social justice issues.
Mr Murphy, speaking after the shadow cabinet meeting. said Scottish Labour’s new look frontbench represented a “team of all the talents”.
He said: “Earlier this week I announced my Shadow Cabinet and today I am pleased to complete the rest of the team. I am looking forward to working with the full team as we take our positive vision for changing Scotland around the country.
“I want a team of all the talents available to Scottish Labour. Whatever happened in the past must remain there – this is a new team for a new era, where we all work together to regain the trust of people in Scotland.
“There is a spring in the step of the Scottish Labour Party. We need to take that new energy and show Scots we have the radical and bold ideas to transform our country.”
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