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UK’s First Sikh Woman MP Preet Gill Appointed Shadow Minister

LONDON – Preet Kaur Gill, Britain’s first woman Sikh MP, has been elevated to the Shadow Cabinet by the Opposition Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The Shadow Cabinet is a team of senior parliamentarians chosen by the Opposition leader to mirror the Cabinet in government.

Each member is appointed to lead on a specific policy area and to question the counterpart in the Cabinet. In this way, the Opposition seeks to present itself as an alternative government-in-waiting.

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Gill, 44, won her Birmingham Edgbaston seat for the Labour in the June 8 snap polls last year. In July, she was elected to the Home Affairs Select Committee. She was promoted shadow minister for international development in Corbyn’s New Year reshuffle.

“We had no Sikh MPs prior to this election. Sikhs had no representation and we had no female Sikh representation. Parliament must reflect the people it serves,” Gill had said at the time of her election.

Since then, she has had a busy tenure, being elected to the influential Home Affairs Select Committee – the cross-party parliamentary panel that examines the workings of the UK Home Office. Gill is also the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs.

Her appointment was announced alongside that of Clive Lewis as shadow treasury minister. Lewis had resigned as shadow business minister in February last year over wanting a vote against the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill and was one of the 52 rebel MPs to defy Labour Party orders to back the Bill in a Parliament vote. Accused in a sexual harassment scandal, he was cleared of wrongdoing by the party late last year.

Others who moved up to the frontbenches of the Opposition include Jack Dromey as shadow minister for pensions and Karen Lee as shadow minister for fire.

“Pleased to make appointments to strengthen Labour’s frontbench which is a government-in-waiting. I look forward to working with them holding the Tories to account, preparing to form a government for the many, not the few,” Corbyn said.

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