Ian Murray appointed Shadow Scottish Secretary

Ian Murray has been appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland by the newly elected Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, reclaiming the role he resigned from in 2016 in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Mr Murray’s appointment was considered a formality as he is the only Labour MP in Scotland following the 2019 general election.

But under Mr Corbyn, the role was twice filled by English MPs who also held the Northern Ireland portfolio, in a snub to Scotland’s most senior Labour MP.

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The appointment suggests Labour will take a harder stance against a second Scottish independence referendum than under Mr Corbyn, who said he would agree to a request from the Scottish Parliament for the power to hold indyref2.

Mr Murray is also expected to work with the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves on Labour’s constitutional offer, with the Edinburgh South MP having supported a move towards a more federal UK constitution.

Confirming his top team, Mr Starmer said: “I’m proud to have appointed a Shadow Cabinet that showcases the breadth, depth and talents of the Labour Party.

“This is a new team that will be relentlessly focused on acting in the national interest to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and rebuilding Labour so that it can win the next election.”

Mr Starmer’s main rival for the Labour leadership, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has been made Shadow Education Secretary. The shadow cabinet is gender-balanced with 17 women and 15 men, and includes seven MPs from black and minority-ethnic backgrounds.