Last night, one of Iain Dale’s listeners on LBC asked Chuka Umunna a simple question: who in the Shadow Cabinet has run or set up a business? He ummed and aahed, he explained it was a “lazy narrative” , he mentioned junior members of the Shadow Business team, before eventually alighting with relief on Jon Trickett, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office.
Of course, if he’d wanted to know a bit more about his colleagues he could have just read ConHome’s study of the very limited private sector experience around the Shadow Cabinet table. With an average of only 4.5 years of experience each, it’s unsurprising that the Shadow Business Secretary struggled to think of anyone with entrepreneurial experience.
There’s actually no public record that I can find of Trickett “running his own construction outfit” – maybe he did, but the closest reference is a non-specific comment about workingas a plumber and builder from 1974-1986
As we revealed in our Looking at Labour series, there is only one Shadow Cabinet member who is publicly known to have founded a firm.
Who is it? Drumroll…congratulations, Emma Reynolds, Shadow Minister for Housing, who:
“…set up a small business which supported British companies in understanding and influencing EU laws.”
Perhaps a Brussels lobbying firm isn’t what Labour had in mind for the “producers” side of its predator/producer divide. Nor, sadly, do we know what became of the company – Reynolds moved on to become an adviser to the Party of European Socialists.