Jeremy Corbyn, the newly-elected Labour leader, has included two Indian-origin women in his shadow cabinet: Seema Malhotra as the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury and Lisa Nandy as the shadow secretary for energy and climate change.
Nandy, 36, MP from Wigan in Greater Manchester, is the daughter of Indian Marxist Dipak Nandy, who was the founder and first director of the respected left-wing think-tank, Runnymede Trust.
Malhotra, 43, was first elected from Feltham and Heston in 2011 in a by-election. She was given the role of a shadow minister in 2014 for preventing violence against women by the former Labour leader, Ed Miliband.
Much attention has been focussed on Corbyn’s shadow team after several Labour MPs refused to serve under him due to his radical views on key issues. Criticism of few women in his team was sought to be blunted by the inclusion of Malhotra, Nandy and others.
Malhotra will be the number two in the shadow Treasury team after veteran left Labour MP John McDonnell was appointed shadow chancellor. McDonnell, who is also seen to be as ‘hard left’ as Corbyn, has supported nationalisation of public services in the past.
McDonnell’s appointment is expected to provide an effective counter to the David Cameron government’s pro-market and deep-austerity approach. Hilary Benn, who continues as shadow foreign secretary, ruled out campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union.
In keeping with Corbyn’s known left leanings, most members of his shadow cabinet are from the left wing of the party, including Diane Abbott, who was named as the shadow international development secretary.
Members of the shadow cabinet scrutinise the work of their corresponding ministers in the government and hold the government to account for its actions and responses.