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UK set for first Labour culture secretary since 2010 after landslide election victory

The UK will soon have a new culture secretary following the Labour Party’s landslide victory in yesterday’s general election, but who will fill the cabinet position is uncertain after the shadow culture secretary lost her seat in parliament.

Thangam Debbonaire

Sir Keir Starmer will be ushered in as the UK’s new prime minister this lunchtime after his party brought an end to 14 years in opposition and condemned the Conservative Party to their worst ever election result.

Starmer, who is set to announce his cabinet this weekend (July 6 and 7), had been expected to name the shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Thangam Debbonaire, in the role.

However, Debbonaire lost her seat in parliament last night to Carla Denyer, co-leader of the UK’s Green Party, in the constituency of Bristol West.

This means Starmer has a key decision to make when he announces his cabinet, as ministers may only be recruited from the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

Among the names from Starmer’s shadow cabinet now being tipped for the role are deputy national campaign coordinator Ellie Reeves, who gained a majority in Lewisham West & East Dulwich last night, and shadow minister for creative industries and digital Sir Chris Bryant, who is MP for Rhondda and Ogmore and had a stint as the shadow culture secretary in 2015.

The chosen Labour politician will take over from Lucy Frazer, the Conservative politician who has held the culture secretary role since February last year.

Frazer’s near year-and-a-half tenure was a relatively long stint in the role, which has been something of a revolving door under the Tories, with 12 different culture secretaries in as many years, much to the dismay of the industry.

The UK’s creative industry has had a challenging relationship with the government of the past 14 years, with successive Tory regimes often acting with hostility towards the likes of the BBC and Channel 4 and making attempts to significantly alter their funding models.

Bectu, the UK’s film and TV union, has welcomed the general election result, with head of Bectu Philippa Childs saying the Labour Party “recognises the huge contribution the creative industries make towards the economy and appreciates that they are a key sector for the future.

“After seemingly endless political shrill surrounding the BBC, we’re pleased to have a party in power that won’t use our world-class public service broadcaster as a political football. It’s essential that Labour understands the key role the BBC plays in the delicate ecosystem of the creative industries, and its importance as an incubator of skills and talent,” Childs added.

“We’ve been pleased to see Labour’s commitment to championing access to the arts for all, and backing this up with a strong plan for developing skills, opening up apprenticeships and improving workers’ rights.

“We hope this translates into a fruitful relationship with ourselves and other trade unions as we continue to work to tackle some of the pressing issues facing the creative industries, sustained funding, improved rights for freelancers, and more sustainable working patterns and conditions,” Childs said.

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