Anneliese Dodds, MP for Oxford East, has been named as Keir Starmer’s Shadow Chancellor to replace the outgoing John McDonnell. This comes the day after Starmer was elected to take over from Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader.
Dodds, who has been the MP for Oxford East since 2017, had backed Starmer to become Leader from the outset of the leadership race, hosting him at an event in Oxford in January. Having served as a Treasury spokesperson under Corbyn, and with an academic background in Public Policy, Dodds certainly seems to be a natural choice for the role despite not yet being a household name.
Whilst the new Shadow Chancellor served the Corbyn leadership dutifully in a number of media appearances, it is highly unlikely that she will have been tainted with any of the bad feelings that many have towards the outgoing Leader. Dodds is not considered to be a strong part of any particular wing of the party and is certainly not regarded as being in the same mould as her predecessor, the long-time ‘radical’ socialist stalwart McDonnell. Despite this, Dodds has been a vocal advocate for greater efforts to crack down on tax avoidance and, back in her days as a student in Oxford, was a student spokesperson in a protest against tuition fees. She has also spoken in Parliament on behalf of her East Oxford constituency on issues ranging from the importance of European markets for businesses like BMW in Cowley to the extortionate house prices that many students will be no stranger too.
Born in Aberdeen, Dodds went on to study PPE at St Hilda’s before embarking on postgraduate study in the field of Social Policy. Prior to becoming an MP in Oxford, between 2014 and 2017 she served as an MEP and now holds a strong majority of almost 18,000. Her new position as Shadow Chancellor will naturally raise concerns amongst residents of East Oxford that she will be able to continue to serve her constituency with sufficient attention.
New leader Keir Starmer’s rival Lisa Nandy has been appointed Shadow Foreign Secretary, meaning two of the four great shadow offices of state are occupied by women. Nick Thomas-Symonds, a PPE graduate from St Edmund Hall, has also been appointed Shadow Home Secretary.