FORMER Labour leader Ed Miliband is back on the front benches after Sir Keir Starmer continued his purge of Corbyn cronies.
The new leader purged rafts of Jeremy Corbyn’s hard left MPs in favour of more moderates – but did find a top job for former leadership rivals Rebecca Long Bailey and Lisa Nandy.
Mr Miliband – who led the party between 2010 to 2015 – was appointed show business secretary.
Ms Long Bailey was handed the Education brief, while Ms Nandy ousted leadership rival Emily Thornberry as the new Shadow Foreign Minister.
Ms Thornberry will instead work as shadow international trade secretary.
Sir Keir had already announced Anneliese Dodds as Shadow Chancellor – the first woman to hold the role.
In a statement, Mr Miliband said: “We must all focus on playing our part in the country’s response to coronavirus, working with government to help many businesses and workers who have been so badly hit and need their voice heard.”
He added: “We cannot go back to business as usual after this crisis.
“We will need to reshape our economy, addressing the insecurity many millions of workers face.”
Among those purged by the new leadership team was controversial hard left MP Richard Burgon.
The former Shadow justice secretary was axed yesterday (Mon) and was replaced by Tottenham MP David Lammy – who served on the front benches under Tony Blair and has been outspoken on the Windrush scandal.
Gaffe prone Mr Burgon is a divisive figure in the party, with one fellow MP saying: ”I just feel sorry for the village that’s getting its idiot back.”
Sir Keir 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.”
Another chopped by Sir Keir was Baroness Shami Chakrabarti – who oversaw Labour’s internal investigation into anti-semitism in the party.
Ian Murray, who ran for the deputy leadership, returns as shadow Scotland secretary after resigning from the role under Mr Corbyn while Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, who also unsuccessfully stood to be deputy and who continues to work as a hospital doctor, is shadow minister for mental health.
John Healey was moved to become shadow defence secretary having served in education for Mr Corbyn.
Senior Labour MP Andrew Gwynne quit the front bench in a letter to Sir Keir saying he hopes to rediscover his “political drive” from the backbenches.