Shadow mental health minister resigns with swipe at Keir Starmer

Rosena Allin-Khan has resigned from her post as shadow mental health minister  (PA Archive)
Rosena Allin-Khan has resigned from her post as shadow mental health minister (PA Archive)

Shadow mental health minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan has resigned from her post, claiming Sir Keir Starmer “doesn’t see a space” for her portfolio in a Labour cabinet.

In a letter to the Labour leader, the MP for Tooting urged him to ensure reform of mental health services remained a “legislative priority” in a future Government after Sir Keir confirmed the reshuffle of his top team.

Dr Khan assumed the position in 2020 and has used the post to call for increased investment in mental health services. She had also been working hospital shifts while serving in the role.

She wrote: “You made clear that you do not see a space for a mental health portfolio in a Labour Cabinet, which is why I told you many weeks ago that I would not be able to continue in this role.

“I am proud of the progress we made together to not only develop mental health policy, but to break down the stigma around mental illness. We have developed some fantastic policies which will undoubtedly change lives.”

She added that the Tory Government had created a “mental health crisis”.

“With further Government delays to the reform of the Mental Health Act, and the Suicide Prevention Strategy, it is crucial that the next Labour Government treats these areas as a priority.”

She vowed to continue to “call out the Government over the shameful mess they’ve made of Brexit” from the backbenches.

The shadow mental health minister role has gone from Labour’s shadow cabinet.

As part of a shadow cabinet revamp on Monday, Angela Rayner has formally been appointed shadow deputy prime minister and levelling up secretary. Her brief will involve scrutinising the Conservative Government’s pledge to create economic opportunities outside London and the South East.

Lisa Nandy, one of Sir Keir’s leadership rivals in 2020, had previously held the position.

The former shadow foreign secretary was demoted to shadow cabinet minister for international development during the reshuffle – a position that does not directly relate to the work of a secretary of state in Government.

The pre-election shake-up comes on the same day that former top civil servant and partygate investigator Sue Gray starts her new role as the Labour leader’s chief of staff, according to the BBC.

The anti-sleaze watchdog, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, had recommended a six-month delay to her starting the job with Sir Keir – advice Labour accepted.

The Standard has contacted Labour for comment.