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Houghton and Sunderland MP Bridget Phillipson outlines her dream after promotion to Shadow Education Secretary

Bridget Phillipson says she wants to give every child the kind of opportunity that she had as a youngster after being promoted to one of the most high-profile seats on Labour’s Front Bench.

By Kevin Clark
Monday, 6th December 2021, 5:00 am

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The Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South was handed the role of Shadow Education Secretary in last month’s reshuffle of Sir Keir Starmer’s team.

It comes barely 18 months after she was first promoted to the Shadow Cabinet after a decade in Parliament.

The former St Robert of Newminster School pupil - who is mum to Orla, ten, and six-year-year-old Gabriel – paid tribute to her education and the role it had played in inspiring her and said she wanted to see the same for all youngsters: "I am determined that every child gets the best possible start in life and education is absolutely essential to that,” she said.

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“I was fortunate to receive a really good education in local schools and that transformed my life.

“I want every child to have that opportunity to realise their potential.”

Ms Phillipson is the daughter of domestic violence campaigner and Wearside Women in Need founder Clare Phillipson and worked as a manager for the charity for several years before being elected to represent the newly-created constituency at the 2010 general election.

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Houghton and Sunderland South Mp Bridget Phillipson has been appointed Shadow Education Secretary

In 2010 and again in 2015, she was the first MP to be elected as Houghton and Sunderland South continued the tradition of the previous Sunderland South constituency in being the first nationwide to declare.

She has served on a number of committees, including public accounts, privileges and standards and spent two years in the whip’s office from 2013 to 2015.

Her first Front Bench appointment came in April last year, when she was appointed Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

She said she had been ‘delighted’ to be asked to take over the education brief and slammed the Government for its handling of the covid pandemic: “We know so many children have lost out on so much learning.

Bridget campaigning with mum Clare

“That is why we need a real plan to support our children in education recovery – but the Government has barely done a thing, which risks damage to the life chances of so many children but also risks real harm to our society and economy in the long run.”

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Election night 2010
Election night 2010 with fellow MPs Julie Elliott (left) and Sharon Hodgson