Sir Keir Starmer QC has appointed new shadow justice ministers following his election as leader of the Labour party on 4 April 2020. The team has a strong background in legal aid.
David Lammy replaces Richard Burgon as shadow justice secretary. Lammy has been the MP for Tottenham since 2000 and served as the minister with responsibility for legal aid from 2003 to 2005 when Labour was in government. Prior to his election as an MP, he practised as a barrister.
Taking over the shadow legal aid brief is Karl Turner, the MP for Kingston upon Hull East. Turner has a strong background in criminal legal aid: before being elected to parliament, he was a barrister, and later employed by the Max Gold Partnership, a firm of solicitors based in Hull. In a tweet
about his appointment as shadow minister for legal aid he said: ‘I look forward to working to restore legal aid to the heart of our justice system.’
Former housing lawyer, Bambos Charalambous, was also appointed to the shadow justice team. Charalambous is the MP for Enfield Southgate in north London. Earlier in his political career, while a local councillor, he helped establish Enfield Law Centre, which closed in October 2008.
Making a political come-back in the newly-appointed justice team, is Lord Falconer, who has been appointed shadow attorney general. Falconer was lord chancellor in Tony Blair’s government from 2003 to 2007. In recent years, he has expressed regret for the cutbacks to legal aid he was responsible for in office, saying
: ‘We certainly never intended LASPO,1Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
but we created an atmosphere in which it was more possible.’
Starmer’s other appointments to the shadow justice team are West Ham MP Lyn Brown, as shadow minister for prisons and probation, and the MP for Hove and Portslade, Peter Kyle, who is shadow minister for victims and youth justice.