Six Yorkshire MPs enter Keir Starmer's new Cabinet as Labour government takes shape

Clockwise from top left: Rachel Reeves, Yvette Cooper, John Healey, Hilary Benn, Louise Haigh and Ed Miliband

The new Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has formed his new Cabinet and selected six Yorkshire MPs to serve in it.

The Cabinet consists of the most senior Government roles - it is the inner circle of power within the leadership of the country.

Most often, these roles include the MPs who have been selected by the Prime Minister to serve as the heads of each Government department, who normally have the title Secretary of State.

Some other roles are also asked to attend Cabinet meetings, such as the Leader of the House, and occasionally 'ministers without portfolio', who have no official brief but are valued for their experience and input.

Six of the top roles within the Cabinet are now occupied by MPs who have just won their seats in Yorkshire.

Chancellor of the Exchequer - Rachel Reeves

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, or Chancellor for short, is often regarded as the second-most powerful person in the Government after the Prime Minister.

The Chancellor is the head of HM Treasury - they control the public finances, making key decisions about how to raise revenue, through methods such as taxes, duties, borrowing and savings on public spending, and where to allocate it for spending on things like public services, government initiatives and investment in projects and businesses.

Rachel Reeves - the MP for Leeds West and Pudsey - is the first woman in history to be appointed to the role, having been shadow Chancellor before the election.

Before entering politics, Ms Reeves studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford, and got a Master's in Economics from the London School of Economics.

She went on to work as an economist at the Bank of England, the British Embassy in Washington and at Halifax Bank of Scotland before she was elected to Parliament for the first time in the 2010 general election.

Against the backdrop of a sluggish economy and competing demands for public spending, Reeves will be responsible for sticking to Labour's strict fiscal rules while implementing a series of tax hikes on wealthy non-doms (UK residents whose permanent homes are outside the UK and who get tax exemptions), oil and gas giants and private schools to help fund plans for improved public services.

Home Secretary - Yvette Cooper

The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the person in charge of domestic affairs.

Along with the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Foreign Secretary, it makes up one fo the four 'great offices of state' - considered the most senior roles in the Cabinet.

The Home Secretary is responsible for law enforcement, national security (including the Security Service, a.k.a. MI5) and immigration.

Yvette Cooper - the MP for Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley - is a long-serving Labour MP, having first been elected to Parliament in 1997 under Tony Blair's leadership.

She held Cabinet roles under Blair as the Work and Pensions Secretary and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, then as both shadow Work and Pensions and shadow Foreign Secretary during the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition Government from 2010.

She was returned to the backbenches under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the party, before Keir Starmer brought her back as shadow Home Secretary.

Cooper will now run one of the most scrutinised briefs in government with immigration issues at its heart, as the UK grapples with an asylum backlog and small boat crossings in the English Channel.

Defence Secretary - John Healey

The Secretary of State for Defence - or Defence Secretary - is responsible for making decision affecting the armed forces and their operations.

They also oversee defence intelligence activities, manage relationships with international allies, e.g. NATO, and shape defence policy, resourcing and planning.

John Healey - the MP for Rawmarsh and Conisbrough, first elected in 1997 alongside Yvette Cooper - will now take up the post.

A stalwart of Labour's front bench, Healey served in the Blair and Brown governments as well as the shadow cabinets of Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn before becoming shadow Defence Secretary under Keir Starmer.

He backed the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and more recently has criticised the Conservative government's aim to reduce the size of the army to 72,500 by 2025.

A question mark still hangs over how Labour would oversee the defence budget, having pledged to reach a spending target of 2.5% only when "economic conditions allow".

Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero - Ed Miliband

The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero is a relatively new role, after the department was formed in February 2023 by Rishi Sunak.

It has taken previous forms over the years, for which former Labour leader Ed Miliband - the MP for Doncaster North, first elected in 2005 - served as secretary of state under Gordon Brown.

In the shadow Cabinet under Keir Starmer, Miliband has championed the pledge to create GB Energy, a publicly-owned clean power company, and almost £24 billion in spending for green measures.

However, this was a watering down of the party's promise to spend £28 billion a year on sustainable energy projects - of which Miliband was seen as a key proponent - blaming the Conservatives' stewardship of the economy.

Transport Secretary - Louise Haigh

The Secretary of State for Transport - a.k.a. the Transport Secretary - is responsible for forming the Government's transport policies and investment decisions, including the public transport and roads network and decisions affecting private forms of transport.

As Transport Secretary, Louise Haigh - the MP for Sheffield Heeley since 2015 - would be in charge of plans to renationalise most rail services when existing contracts expire.

Speaking today, Louise Haigh, said: "Transport is so important to the people of Sheffield, and I will put everything I have into putting the public back into our public transport system and delivering the connectivity we deserve.

“This will be the most public transport-committed government in Britain’s history. One of my first jobs will be to sort out the rail and bus networks across the country."

Haigh previously served as shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, and before politics worked in public policy for insurer Aviva.

She has also been a member of Unite the Union, and used to volunteer as a special constable in the Metropolitan Police.

Northern Ireland Secretary - Hilary Benn

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland - or Northern Ireland Secretary - is responsible for all affairs concerning Northern Ireland.

It is a complicated and delicate brief, given the history of the Troubles and the unique arrangements regarding the devolved government and strength of feeling between unionist and republican parties.

Hilary Benn - the MP for Leeds South, first elected in 1999 - has held multiple roles in both Government and Opposition over the years, including Environment Secretary and International Development Secretary under Gordon Brown and Tony Blair respectively.

He has served as shadow Northern Ireland secretary since 2023, an appointment that was welcomed by Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie as "an indication of the importance [Sir Keir] places on Northern Ireland".

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