Who is Rosena Allin-Khan? Tooting MP quits Labour Shadow Cabinet

 (Jeremy Selwyn)
(Jeremy Selwyn)

Shadow Mental Health minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan has resigned from her post, claiming Sir Keir Starmer “doesn’t see a space” for her portfolio in a Labour cabinet.

In a letter to the Labour leader, the MP for Tooting urged him to ensure reform of mental health services remained a “legislative priority” in a future Government after Sir Keir confirmed the reshuffle of his top team.

She resigned in a letter, writing: “You made clear that you do not see a space for a mental health portfolio in a Labour Cabinet, which is why I told you many weeks ago that I would not be able to continue in this role.

“I am proud of the progress we made together to not only develop mental health policy, but to break down the stigma around mental illness. We have developed some fantastic policies which will undoubtedly change lives.”

She added that the Tory Government had created a “mental health crisis”.

“With further Government delays to the reform of the Mental Health Act, and the Suicide Prevention Strategy, it is crucial that the next Labour Government treats these areas as a priority.”

She vowed to continue to “call out the Government over the shameful mess they’ve made of Brexit” from the backbenches.

The Shadow Mental Health Minister role has since gone from Labour’s Shadow Cabinet.

But what do we know about Dr Rosena Allin-Khan?

Who is Rosena Allin-Khan?

Rosena Allin-Khan is a British politician for the Labour Party and also works as a medical doctor. She is a born and bred Londoner, and got involved in politics when she decided to use her experiences in life to help others.

She is married with two daughters and was born and raised in Tooting, a community she has represented as a Labour MP since 2016.

She previously said: “I grew up in Tooting, attending Trinity St Mary’s School in Balham and I’m so proud to be raising my family here and worked as a Junior Doctor at St George’s Hospital. I still work shifts at the hospital in the A&E department.”

The rising politician worked shifts on the frontline during the height of the Covid pandemic and has also worked overseas as a humanitarian doctor in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

She has campaigned for mental health support from the Government after seeing the crisis in the country’s hospital departments “firsthand”.

She describes herself as “pushy and belligerent” and said she had to fight to become a doctor after being brought up by a single parent.

On her website, she previously said: “They’re qualities many might welcome in mental health care – alongside that belligerence and pushiness for better and kinder care. I know how hard an area this is to tackle. I’ve had first-hand experience. There is so much to cover. While there have been some great strides forward made in mental health in recent years, there’s still a resounding stigma attached to it.”

Why has Rosena Allin-Khan resigned?

She quit this week, writing a resignation letter in which she took a swipe at the Labour leader Keir Starter.

She said: “As discussed previously, and in our call earlier, you made clear that you do not see a space for a mental health portfolio in a Labour cabinet, which is why I told you many weeks ago that I would not be able to continue in this role.”

She said that while she is proud of the progress she has made in working on mental health policies, she does not agree with there being no portfolio in the Labour government for support.

She added: “It is vital that the next Labour government supports those who have been failed by inpatient mental health services and seeks answers and justice for them,” adding that a Labour government must treat reform of the Mental Health Act and Suicide Prevention Strategy as a “priority”.

What other roles has Rosena Allin-Khan had?

In October 2016, Allin-Khan was appointed Shadow Minister for Sport, and was a big supporter of safe standing. She vowed to introduce it in the 2020/21 election if Labour won, but they did not.

She stood again in 2017 and 2019 general elections and retained her seat for both.

In 2020, she stood as a candidate in the Labour Party deputy leadership election but came second to Angela Rayner.

She was appointed as Shadow Minister for Mental Health in Keir Starmer’s first Shadow Cabinet, but has since resigned.