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Heidi Alexander appointed shadow health secretary

Labour party backbencher Heidi Alexander has been appointed to the post of shadow health secretary, replacing Andy Burnham in the role.

Mr Burnham has been appointed shadow home secretary, after serving as shadow health secretary since 2010, and a brief stint as health secretary in the last Labour Government.

Ms Alexander, the MP for Lewisham East since 2010, has taken a special interest in end-of-life care in the past, chairing the All-Party Paliamentary Group on Choice at the End of Life during the last Parliament.

She also fought in the successful campaign to resist the Government’s decision to close down services at Lewisham Hospital in 2013 and was a member of the House of Commons communities and local government committee.

She tweeted: ‘Humbled to serve as shadow health secretary. The NHS is facing immense challenges and I will do all I can to hold this Government to account.’

It comes as Mr Burnham was beaten by a wide margin in his bid to become Labour leader last weekend by Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, receiving 19% of the vote to Mr Corbyn’s 59.5%, despite starting out as an early favourite.

Liz Kendall MP, who also vied for the leadership role but came last with just 4.5% of votes, has stepped down as shadow minister for care and older people.

Former shadow health minister Jamie Reed MP offered his resignation letter as Mr Corbyn was giving his victory speech on Saturday.

Mr Corbyn’s first speech upon accepting the role as leader included a commitment to ‘ending the internal market in the health service’. Congratulating Wales on doing so already, Mr Corbyn said this is ‘something we want to do in the rest of Britain’.

Photo credit: The Labour party