The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, has appointed Kate Green as his new shadow education secretary.

The Stretford and Urmston MP replaces Rebecca Long-Bailey, who was sacked from the opposition frontbench this week.

Starmer said: “I’m delighted to appoint Kate Green as shadow education secretary. Kate has spent a lifetime campaigning against child poverty and educational inequalities.

“I look forward to working with her in this new role.”

Green said: “It’s a privilege to have been asked to serve as shadow education secretary.

“The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on children’s education. I look forward to working with teachers, unions, parents and councils to help ensure we get our children back in school as soon as possible.”

Before her election in 2010, the 60-year-old was chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group. Before that, Green was director of the National Council for One Parent Families, now known as Gingerbread.

The appointment came two days after Long-Bailey was sacked on Thursday for enthusiastically sharing an article published on the Independent website that contained a remark by English actor Maxine Peake, who claimed the Israeli secret service had taught US police the kneeling technique used by a Minneapolis officer against George Floyd, resulting in the latter’s death.

The claim was denied by Israel, and Peake later retracted it.

In a tweet that has since been deleted, Long-Bailey praised Peake as “an absolute diamond”.

Leftwing Labour MPs including John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn were among MPs who met Starmer on Friday morning to express their concerns over the sacking, which has become a rallying point for critics of Starmer’s leadership.

But calls from MPs on the left of the party for Long-Bailey to be reinstated were dismissed by Starmer, who said his mind was made up.

For Green, it is a return to the shadow cabinet after serving as shadow minister for women and equalities under Corbyn’s leadership.

She quit after the EU referendum in 2016, and went on to chair Owen Smith’s failed leadership bid later that year.

Starmer gave her the role of shadow minister for child poverty strategy when he became leader in April.

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