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Starmer appoints new shadow culture minister

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
British leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer has appointed Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire as shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport, the minister responsible for the gambling brief.

If the Labour Party prove successful at the next general election, Debbonaire will head up the DCMS as culture minister. In that case, she will head up gambling policy in the wake of the previous government’s reforms.

“Thrilled to take on this exciting role,” said the new culture minister on X. “As a musician I know the value of these incredibly important sectors to people’s lives, jobs and our economy.

“Labour govts [sic] always back Britain’s world-leading culture, media and sport. Looking forward to working with everyone involved.”

Shadow culture minister to take gambling brief

Sometimes nicknamed the “ministry of fun” the department is charged with governing culture, sport, broadcasting, tourism and leisure in the UK. Gambling has also historically fallen within its purview where it has taken a leading role in the review of the UK’s gambling laws.

Pontypridd MP Alex Davies-Jones and shadow minister for tech, gambling and the digital economy will report to Debbonaire as junior minister. Davies-Jones has held the position since December 2021.

Concerns white paper implementation delayed until after election

After the publication of the Gambling Act review white paper, there have been some concerns voiced about the number of provisions put out to consultation.

Some have expressed worries that the number is sufficiently high that the Gambling Commission and CMS will not have time to complete them all before the next general election.

The Gambling Commission has previously said it aims to have all consultations finished before summer 2024. This date is before the deadline of the next general election in January 2025.

However, an election can be called before this date. If this happens, and the Labour Party are able to form a government, then Debbonaire may lead on the latter stages of the white paper’s implementation as culture minister.   

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