Lewisham East’s MP, Heidi Alexander, has been appointed by Jeremy Corbyn to serve the new Labour cabinet as shadow health secretary.
Alexander said she is ‘humbled’ to be given the opportunity to hold the current Government to account, during times of ‘immense challenges’ for the NHS.
Humbled to serve as Shadow Health Secretary. The NHS is facing immense challenges & I will do all I can to hold this Government to account.
— Heidi Alexander (@heidi_mp) September 13, 2015
Alexander is perhaps best known for opposing the closure of Lewisham A&E. She brought the issue to the Parliament and opened the debate by highlighting the core problems that could arise from the closure of the admitting accident and emergency services at Lewisham.
Addressing ministers, Alexander said: “Children who are hurt, the elderly who have had a bad fall; they don’t disappear into thin air, they still need treatment. Mothers-to-be still need somewhere to give birth.”
Alexander has also been critical of the way in which the Conservative Government is handling the current refugee crisis, calling the situation ‘disgraceful’.
In Parliament, she is known for consistently voting for laws that support equality and human rights. Furthermore, she voted to stop the Government’s NHS reorganisation and also voted to reduce the amount of income a NHS foundation trust is permitted to make from private patients.
Despite Alexander’s appointment as shadow health secretary, Corbyn has been criticised for failing to promote any women to top shadow cabinet roles.
Former shadow Scottish secretary, Margaret Curran, said: “Respect to Jeremy Corbyn for victory but all men in top posts! Needs an urgent rethink. Labour needs to be better than this.”
Mr Corbyn had been praised for pledging to seek an overall 50:50 gender balance. However, John McDonnell, Andy Burnham and Hilary Benn were given the jobs of shadowing what are considered the great offices of state: Treasury, Home Office and Foreign Office, respectively.