Louise Haigh takes on shadow digital economy role in Labour frontbench reshuffle
The Labour MP for Newcastle Central takes over the brief as the Digital Economy Bill reaches the committee stage
Louise Haigh - Image credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Labour MP Louise Haigh has been named shadow minister for the digital economy, just a day before the UK Government’s Digital Economy Bill enters the committee stage.
Haigh, who has been MP for Sheffield Heeley since May 2015, replaces Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, who is moving to shadow industrial strategy.
The moves are part of Jeremy Corbyn’s latest reshuffle of his frontbench, following the failed leadership challenge by Owen Smith and the spate of resignations from shadow cabinet and ministerial posts after the EU referendum.
Haigh, who has said she worked at a digital start-up before becoming an MP, was previously shadow Cabinet Office minister for digital reform, a role that focused on public sector reforms.
Her new job will be more wide-reaching and is expected to focus on the Digital Economy Bill that is currently making its way through Westminster.
Writing on Twitter last night, Onwurah – who has been a long-standing and vocal critic of the UK Government’s approach to digital, particularly around data ethics – welcomed her successor into the role.
“I know @LouHaigh and [shadow culture secretary and deputy Labour leader] @tom_watson will do great job holding government to account on their inadequate and reckless Digital Economy Bill,” she said.
The bill, which sets out rules for greater public data sharing and improved broadband connectivity, is due its first committee hearing tomorrow and Watson, who also has a history of speaking out against the UK Government on digital issues, said Haigh would have to “hit the ground running”.
According to ministerial appointments list circulated by Labour, Haigh’s role will be in solely in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
When Onwurah had the position it was shared between DCMS and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, but BIS has now been merged with energy and climate change to form the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Labour has yet to confirm who will be taking on Haigh’s previous role as minister for digital reform.
The DCMS has published a statement of intent for its Data Protection Bill ahead of GDPR coming into force next year
With technology now permeating all aspects of life, there is a need for leadership as the public sector pushes to keep up with the pace of change
The UK Government rejects a House of Lords amendment to boost minimum speed to 30 Mbps, citing “serious concerns” about ability to deliver
The Scottish Government published its draft STEM education strategy in November and work is now underway on the final version