Meet FE's new shadow ministers: Angela Eagle and Lucy Powell

William Martin

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After much frenzied speculation, new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has unveiled his new shadow cabinet. Lucy Powell (pictured, right) will hold the role of shadow education secretary, replacing Tristram Hunt who stepped down from the Labour front bench following Mr Corbyn's landslide victory. Chuka Umunna has also resigned from his role as shadow business secretary, and his job will be taken by Angela Eagle (pictured, left). It has not yet been announced whether Liam Byrne will continue in his role as shadow minister for universities, science and skills. But what do we know about the two new members of the Labour front bench on whom the fate of the FE sector could rest?

Angela Eagle

  1. Eagle has spent 23 years as an MP, having  represented Wallasey in Merseyside since 1992.
  2. Like Powell, Eagle first joined Parliament in a by-election. She was appointed a member of the Employment Select Committee in 1994, and she became opposition whip two years later.
  3. In Gordon Brown's 2009 cabinet reshuffle, she was made minister of state at the Department for Work and Pensions. After Labour lost power, she became shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.
  4. In 2011, Eagle famously got the goat of David Cameron during Prime Minister's Questions when he snapped at her and said, “Calm down, dear.” Earlier this year, she admitted to rather enjoying goading the Prime Minister. “Do I enjoy yelling at the Prime Minister occasionally?” she said. “Well I have to admit, sneakily, yes.”
  5. Eagle and her sister Maria are the only sisters in the House of Commons. Maria has been named shadow secretary of state for defence in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet reshuffle.

Lucy Powell

  1. Powell was born in Moss Side, Manchester, and joined the Labour Party at the age of 15.
  2. One of her earliest memories of politics was at the age of nine, when she was given a £1 note by her father, a Labour Party activist, in return for spending the day of the 1983 general election collecting electoral registration numbers.
  3. In 1992, Powell stood for Labour in her school’s mock general election. She beat the main parties - but lost to an independent candidate.
  4. Powell was elected MP for Manchester Central in the 2012 by-election. The voter turnout was 18.2 per cent - the lowest since the Second World War
  5. Powell became shadow childcare and early years minister in October 2013, and was a strong proponent of expanding free childcare. She also acted as vice-chair of Ed Miliband’s 2015 general election campaign, orchestrating the infamous “Milibrand” interview with Russell Brand.


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William Martin picture

William Martin

Reporter at TES

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