The West Country MPs given roles in Keir Starmer's new Government

Five MPs from the West Country have been given Government roles Credit: PA/ITV News

Prime Minister Keir Starmer has been settling into his role as national leader by choosing who will be closest to him over the next five years.

Among them are five MPs from the West Country, who'll help set new policies and advise the Secretaries of State.

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West and Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Darren Jones is the returning Labour MP for Bristol North West and has also been appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

This means he attends Cabinet meetings, acts as the Chancellor's deputy and leads on public spending.

Before the 2024 General Election, he served in opposition as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury and, before that, as Chair of the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones arriving in Downing Street, London, for a Cabinet meeting. Credit: PA Images

According to his website, Mr Jones was born at Southmead Hospital in the 1980s and grew up in Lawrence Weston in Bristol North West.

He went to Avon Primary and Portway Community schools, now called Nova Primary and Oasis Academy Brightstowe.

He continued his education at the South Bristol Post-16 Centre at Ashton Gate school before reading human bioscience at Plymouth University, with a focus on immunology.

He was elected President of Plymouth Students’ Union, and went on to work for the NHS.

Mr Jones later trained as a solicitor, specialising in technology law.

He worked in in Plymouth, Bristol and London in both private practice and as an in-house counsel, with a particular focus on the energy and telecommunications sectors.

He first ran for Parliament in 2010 as a Labour candidate in the Conservative safe seat of Torridge and West Devon.

He was selected in 2012 to contest the marginal seat of Bristol North West.

Darren was first elected to Parliament as the Member for Bristol North West in the 2017 election and was re-elected in both the 2019 and 2024 general elections.

In 2024, Darren was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury by the Prime Minister. As a member of the cabinet, he is a privy counsellor.

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South and Minister of State for Health and Social Care

Karin Smyth is the returning Labour representative for Bristol South, and has been an MP continually since May 2015.

She currently holds the Government post of Minister of State for the Department of Health and Social Care.

Karin Smyth is the Labour MP for Bristol South. Credit: ITV News

According to her website, before becoming an MP, Ms Smyth worked in the NHS as a manager, most recently for the NHS Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group.

Her parents came to Britain from Ireland in the 1950s, and worked on building sites and in bars.

She says that, growing up, she witnessed first-hand "the uncertainty of insecure jobs, temporary housing, domestic violence and addiction".

"I was fortunate to have the support of great teachers the sanctuary of a council house, and began to understand that Governments have a choice - to support the vulnerable and lowest paid, or to widen inequality by giving tax cuts to the well off."

She joined the Labour Party in 1985 and studied Economics and Social Studies at the University of East Anglia.

She moved to Bristol in the early 1990s and took an MBA at Bath University in 1995.

Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East and Under Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

Kerry McCarthy is the Labour MP for Bristol East, and has been an MP since May 2005.

She has been appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero).

According to her website, Ms McCarthy grew up in Luton, as one of six children, attending a local comprehensive school and the sixth form college.

Before she became an MP she worked mostly in the legal profession – studying Russian, Politics and Linguistics at university.

She then went to law college and qualified as a solicitor. She was also an elected councillor for five years.

In June 2022, she was appointed by Keir Starmer as shadow Minister for Climate Change.

During the last Labour Government, she served as PPS to Douglas Alexander in the Department for International Development, and then became a Government whip.

From 2015 to 2016, she was Labour’s shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. She has also served on a number of select committees.

Heidi Alexander, MP for Swindon South and Minister of State for Justice

Heidi Alexander is the Labour MP for Swindon South and became an MP on 4 July 2024.

Heidi Alexander Credit: PA

She currently holds the Government post of Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice.

According to her website, Heidi was born at the old Princess Margaret Hospital and went to school at what was then Churchfields.

She moved away for some years, but now lives in a small house in the heart of Old Town.

Ms Alexander was a councillor in South East London for six years and subsequently became the Member of Parliament for Lewisham East (2010-2018).

She served as the Shadow Health Secretary during this time, in opposition to Jeremy Hunt.

She stepped down from Parliament in 2018 when the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan asked her to become his Deputy Mayor for Transport.

Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport and Armed Forces Minister

Luke Pollard is the Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, and has been an MP continually since June 2017.

He has also been appointed the Armed Forces Minister for Keir Starmer's Government.

According to his website, Mr Pollard was born in Freedom Fields hospital in Plymouth in 1980.

Luke Pollard MP Credit: ITV West Country

His father was a submariner in the Royal Navy based in Devonport and his mum was a teacher in a nearby school before teaching at Marjon.

He attended Tavistock College and Christleton High School in Chester before returning to Devon to study Politics at the University of Exeter.

While at University, he worked in the bar and nightclub of Exeter’s Guild of Students (Students’ Union), before being elected as the Campaigns Officer and then President of the Students’ Union in 2001.

He graduated with a first-class degree in Politics specialising in the politics of the European Union and international terrorism.

Mr Pollard started his career in children’s television working for Carlton Television helping to make children’s television shows for ITV from their studios in Plympton.

He went on to work for David Jamieson, who was the Labour MP for Plymouth Devonport, and Scottish MP George Foulkes (now Lord Foulkes) in the House of Commons.

He worked on the successful 2005 General Election campaign in Labour’s Headquarters in London before beginning a role with Edelman, the global communications firm.

In this role, Mr Pollard helped advise companies large and small including South West Water, Sainsbury’s, BAE Systems, Thomas Cook and the BBC.

In 2009, he took up a role with ABTA, the holiday trade body and worked in London and Brussels until leaving the role in 2014 to become a full-time candidate for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport in the run up to the 2015 General Election.

After the election, Mr Pollard began a role as a Director for Field Consulting, a specialist firm advising companies on controversial building projects.

He worked on skyscraper, football stadia and housing development projects as well as advising firms in the rail and transport sectors. He left this role after being elected as an MP in 2017.