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Diane Abbott to take over from Heidi Alexander as shadow health secretary

27 June 2016

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A new shadow health secretary has been appointed following the resignation of Heidi Alexander yesterday.

Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, is set replace Alexander, who resigned amid the backlash from the EU referendum result.

Abbott is a strong ally of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and had previously been shadow minister for public health from 2010 to 2013.

She is moving to her new position from shadow secretary for international development.

Alexander was the first member of the shadow cabinet to resign on Sunday morning, following the sacking of Hilary Benn.

Posting a picture of her resignation letter on Twitter, Alexander said she would be leaving her position “with a heavy heart”.

She said: “More than ever, our country needs an effective opposition which can hold the Government to account and which is capable of develoiping a credible and inspiring alternative to an increasingly right-wing and backward looking Conservative Party.

“As much as I respect you [Corbyn] as a man of principle, I do not believe you have the capacity to shape the answers our country is demanding and I believe that if we are to form the next Government, a change of leadership is essential.”

In response, Dr Peter Swinyard, chair of the Family Doctor Association said in a statement: “The Family Doctor Association deeply regrets the departure of Heidi Alexander, who was a committed and passionate shadow secretary of state for health and who had acquired quickly a great command of a difficult brief.

“The Family Doctor Association will continue to aspire to work together with her replacement in the interest of patients, GPs and general practice and in the furtherance of continuity of care.”

Furthermore, Luciana Berger, has also resigned from her position of shadow minister for mental health.

In her letter of resignation, Berger thanked Corbyn for making the minister of mental health a shadow cabinet-level position, raising the profile of mental health across the country.

However, she said: “As a nation, we now face a crisis as great as the financial crisis of 2007, and a task as monumental as the reconstruction of 1945. The people I am privileged to represent desperately need united Labour leadership to steer us through these turbulent times.”

She added: “My conviction is that we need a Labour leader who can unite our Party, both in Parliament and in the country.”

By Carolyn Wickware

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