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Labour fills vacant shadow pensions minister post

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Labour has appointed Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham as its new shadow pensions minister.

Cunningham was shadow minister for environment, food and rural affairs from September 2015 to June 2016, and has been an MP since 2010.

Cunningham resigned his ministerial post in June over the party leadership’s failure to present the “strongest case possible” for remaining in the EU.

A Twitter post from Cunningham, who sat on the Work and Pensions committee between 2010 and 2011, says he is now “delighted” to accept shadow secretary of state for work and pensions Debbie Abrahams’ invitation to the post.

He adds: “Tories in a right mess on it.”

Abrahams also sat on the Work and Pensions Committee for four years between 2011 and 2015 before she was appointed shadow minister for disabled people last September.

She was then promoted to shadow secretary of state for work and pensions in June this year, taking over from Owen Smith as he went on to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership.

Ashton-under-Lyne MP Angela Rayner took on the shadow pensions minister job in January.

Rayner called on the Government “show us the money” on transitional measures it says it has considered for women affected by the rise in state pension age.

She was the party’s fourth pensions minister in a year, taking over from Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds when he was shuffled to the role of shadow employment minister.

Thomas-Symonds also urged the government to look at “constructive” ways to ease the transition to a higher state pension age for women born in the 1950s.

The Labour press office did not respond to a request for confirmation of the appointment.

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