Anas Sarwar announces new Scottish Labour frontbench

The Scottish Labour leader has insisted that his party will work with others in the 'national interest'.

Anas Sarwar announces new Scottish Labour frontbench Getty Images

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has announced his party’s new frontbench team at Holyrood.

It includes a role for all of the party’s newly-elected MSPs, with Scottish Labour having a total of 22 seats following the Scottish Parliamentary election earlier this month.

Claire Baker, who has been an MSP since 2007, has been named as the party’s spokeswoman on drugs policy.

Jackie Baillie remains as Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, whilst also being given the brief for health and social care, as well as on Covid recovery.

She is joined by newly-elected South Scotland MSP Carol Mochan, who becomes the spokeswoman for mental wellbeing, women’s health and sport, along with Paul O’Kane, the West Scotland MSP, who is spokesman for public health and social care.

Neil Bibby, an MSP since 2011, is the party’s spokesman for parliamentary business and transport, while Rhoda Grant has been named as spokeswoman on land reform and islands, as well as being chief whip.

Edinburgh Southern MSP Daniel Johnson continues in his role as Scottish Labour’s spokesman on finance and the economy, with former MP Paul Sweeney becoming the party’s employment and public finance spokesman.

Monica Lennon, who ran in the party’s leadership contest earlier this year, has been named as spokeswoman on net zero, energy and transport, alongside Mercedes Villalba as spokeswoman on the environment and biodiversity.

The spokesman for education and skills will be Michael Marra, whilst the spokesman on children and young people, lifelong learning and youth Employment is Martin Whitfield.

Pauline McNeill will be the spokeswoman for justice, with Katy Clark as spokeswoman on community safety.

The spokesman on housing and local government will be Mark Griffin, whilst Pam Duncan-Glancy is appointed as spokeswoman on social justice and social security.

Economic development and rural affairs spokesman has been named as Colin Smyth, with Sarah Boyack taking on the brief as constitution, external affairs and culture spokesman, and Foysol Choudhury as spokesman on culture, Europe and international development.

It has also been proposed that Claire Baker, Alex Rowley, and former leader Richard Leonard will be nominated to chair the party’s allocated committees.

Sarwar said: “This is a team that brings together the best of the Labour movement with a focus on delivering a national recovery for the people of Scotland. 

“I’m particularly delighted to welcome the new talents to the Labour group, they have already brought an energy and enthusiasm that continues to build on the sense of optimism from the election campaign.

“This team demonstrates a relentless focus on protecting lives and livelihoods and taking the bold action needed to build a fairer and more equal nation coming through this crisis.”

Sarwar insisted that his party would work with others in the national interest.

He said: “Scottish Labour, under my leadership, will work with anyone in the national interest where there is agreement, but we will not hesitate in pushing the government to go further when it is too timid and we will expose the government’s failures when they get it wrong.

“Across the country, Labour is focusing on what unites the people of Scotland and continuing to build the alternative to the SNP – if you want to be part of that journey join us.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code