Hazel Blears elected chair of Labour big society policy group

Former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will head the backbench committee for the Cabinet Office and Social Action

Former minister Hazel Blears
Former minister Hazel Blears

The parliamentary Labour Party has elected Hazel Blears as chair of a new voluntary sector policy group aimed at wrestling back the big society agenda from the government.

The MP for Salford, a former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, was chosen by Labour MPs to head the backbench committee for the Cabinet Office and Social Action.

Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham & Rainham, was chosen as the vice-chair and Stella Creasy, MP for Walthmstow and former head of public affairs and campaigns at the Scout Association, has been elected secretary.

The group will feed in ideas to Labour's policy review and campaign work on behalf of charities, volunteering groups, cooperatives, mutuals and social enterprises.

Liam Byrne, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: "We are determined to wrestle back the leadership of a big idea in British politics – how do we strengthen our civic society? We have a formidable group of MPs with an extraordinary breadth and depth of experience who are now coming together to help lead the charge."

In parallel, Byrne and the Cabinet Office shadow ministerial team Roberta Blackman-Woods and Jon Trickett will also shortly outline the plans and membership of a policy review group that will explore the question 'How do we strengthen civil society, social finance and mutuals?'

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