City MP joins frontbench as Shadow Local Government Minister for Communities

Stephen Morgan MP has been appointed a Shadow Minister in Labour’s Communities Secretary’s team. Accepting the appointment, the Portsmouth MP vowed to speak up for forgotten communities and protect the vital local services we all rely on.

Having spent over 15 years working in local authorities as an officer across services such as play, leisure, community involvement, strategy and performance, voluntary sector liaison and commissioning, the new Shadow Minister understands the challenges faced by the local government sector.

Elected initially as a city councillor in Portsmouth in 2016, Mr Morgan went on to be elected the first-ever Labour MP for his home constituency of Portsmouth South in the snap general election of 2017.

Mr Morgan said:

“Local Government is the lifeblood of this nation. From keeping our communities safe to administering vital public services – the key role they play in our society is undeniable.

For too long cities like Portsmouth and others across this nation have been neglected and forgotten. Our communities have been stripped of assets, hitting the poorest hardest with vicious welfare cuts and a continued assault on local authorities by starving them of funding.

As Shadow Minister I relish the opportunity to work with Andrew Gwynne MP, a passionate advocate of local government to stand up for councils and their communities across the nation and fight back against the continued cuts perpetuated by the Lib Dems and Tories.”

Mr Morgan enters the frontbenches at a time when local government is facing unprecedented challenges. Central government funding for local authorities has been slashed since 2010, with city council coffers like Portsmouth losing 60 pence out of every pound they had previously received.

The now Shadow Minister for Local Government (Communities) added:

“From Portsmouth to Penrith, councillors across our country are battling cuts to services while simultaneously delivering innovative new ideas. Labour councils shield communities from the worst of the Government austerity agenda. The cuts to our budgets and services have been relentless.

Councillors and officers are demonstrating leadership in the most trying of times. I look forward to be an experienced listening ear to the sector and continuing cooperation with these hardworking and unsung heroes of our communities.”

Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Andrew Gwynne MP said:

“I am delighted with the appointment of Stephen as a strong advocate for Portsmouth and local government to my frontbench team. Stephen is an excellent addition to the strong team standing up for communities and councils across our country.

I am pleased to have a voice from the south-east joining me in challenging the Tories’ disastrous record on local government. In order to return a Labour Government and transform Britain we need more strong voices from the south-east like Stephen in Parliament.

This is an important brief and I look forward to working with Stephen to raise issues from our forgotten communities and to protect the vital local services we all rely on”.

Stephen Morgan MP who has been working closely with the Shadow Communities team since being elected, has expressed strong support for Labour’s policy of putting local authorities back at the heart of society.

He said:

“We have seen 763 youth centres closed, over 700 libraries shut their doors for the last time, Sure Start and early years services have been cut in half, and one in five children are now growing up in poverty. Enough is enough.

Labour in power is where we see progress. I am proud to be part of a team that has pledged to see a million new homes built, 100,000 council and housing association homes with “genuinely affordable” rents. I am proud to be part of a team that has plans to overhaul the outdated business rates system and I am proud to be part of a team that puts the needs of the many before the needs of the few”.

The Shadow Minister’s appointment to the frontbench was announced today by the Leader of the Opposition’s Office.

Mr Morgan has stepped down with immediate effect from the Public Accounts Committee and as PPS to the Shadow Communities Secretary to fulfil the important role.