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Corbyn appoints Louise Haigh shadow minister for digital economy

Sheffield MP Louise Haigh replaces Chi Onwurah as shadow minister for the digital economy in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s reshuffle

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has appointed Louise Haigh as shadow minister for the digital economy, taking over from Chi Onwurah, who has moved to industrial strategy.

In a tweet, Haigh said she was “pleased to be named as shadow minister for the digital economy”.

Onwurah took to social media to congratulate Haigh on her appointment, saying she will “do a great job holding the government to account on their inadequate and reckless Digital Economy Bill”.

Onwurah has long been sceptical about the bill, which is due for its first committee hearing this week.

In an opinion piece for Computer Weekly in June this year, she criticised the bill, saying that it needed to be amended post-Brexit. She added: “The recent canning of Care.data and the commitments in the Digital Economy Bill to increased data sharing do not bode well for a consistent framework on data ownership.”

Corbyn’s latest shadow cabinet reshuffle sees Haigh follows in Onwurah’s footsteps for the second time.

Haigh previously held the role of shadow digital government minister, a post she took over from Onwurah in September 2015.

In August this year, Corbyn launched his digital manifesto, pledging a “digital revolution” for the UK.

His plans include a “universal service network that will deliver high-speed broadband and mobile network to everyone in Britain”.

Read more about Labour and digital government

The Labour leader also announced plans for a voluntary digital citizen passport – a scheme that echoes the Government Digital Service’s Gov.uk Verify identity assurance platform.

Corbyn said the digital citizen passport would give British citizens a “secure and portable identity” that could be used when interacting with public services such as health, welfare and housing.

He also said that under his leadership, Labour would launch a public consultation to create a digital bill of rights, as well as requiring all publicly funded software and hardware to be released under an open source licence, allowing anyone to use it.

Read more on IT for government and public sector

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