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Junior shadow role for UK’s first Sikh woman MP

The Shadow Cabinet is the team of senior parliamentarians chosen by the Leader of the Opposition to mirror the Cabinet in Government.

world Updated: Jan 13, 2018 18:42 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Britain Sikh MP,Preet Kaur Gill,UK shadow cabinet
Preet Kaur Gill was promoted to the post of shadow minister for international development.(Preet Kaur Gill/ Twitter)

Preet Kaur Gill, who was the first Sikh woman elected to the House of Commons in the June 2017 election, has been appointed a junior minister for international development in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team, reflecting a rapid rise in her political career.

Gill, 45, will shadow the work of international development secretary Penny Mordaunt, who replaced Priti Patel when the latter resigned in November following a row over her ministerial overreach during a holiday in Israel.

The opposition Labour’s team for the department of international development now comprises shadow secretary Kate Osamor and junior shadow ministers Gill and Dan Carden. Their task is to closely monitor and hold the work of the department to account.

A delighted Gill tweeted after the appointment: “Honoured to join @UKLabour’s front bench team. I will keep fighting for my constituents in Birmingham Edgbaston as a MP, I look forward to working with @DfID colleagues on international development to challenge global poverty and injustice.”

The eldest daughter amongst the seven children of the late Daljeet Singh Shergill and Kuldeep Kaur Shergill, Gill rose from a humble background to the front ranks of British politics. She is a graduate from the University of East London and often volunteers in gurdwaras.

Corbyn said: “I am pleased to make these appointments to strengthen Labour’s frontbench team, which is now a government in waiting.

“I look forward to working with them in their new roles holding the government to account, developing policy to transform our country and, with their shadow secretary of states, preparing to form a government that will deliver for the many not the few.”

Gill, who visited India last year as part of a team of MPs, is also a member of the influential Home Affairs Committee of parliament. Her new role as the shadow minister for international development will include dealing with issues related to India.

However, Britain has stopped aid to India in recent years, but continues to fund some projects in states such as Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. The department of international development is one of few that has not been subjected to major funding cuts since 2010.

First Published: Jan 13, 2018 17:51 IST