All the Labour ministers who aren’t MPs, from Patrick Vallance to James Timpson

Sir Keir Starmer has appointed the key figures in his new government following the Labour Party’s landslide victory on Friday.

He has appointed 22 Labour MPs and peers to cabinet positions – including a record 11 women. He has also brought in outside expertise for his ministerial ranks, including senior ministers from Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s New Labour governments.

Outsiders have been given peerages to allow them to sit in the House of Lords and serve as ministers.

But who exactly are these new ministers who are not MPs?

Patrick Vallance

Patrick Vallance during a coronavirus press conference at Downing Street (Getty)
Patrick Vallance during a coronavirus press conference at Downing Street (Getty)

Sir Patrick Vallance, the former government chief scientific adviser who regularly appeared on TV during the Covid briefings, will serve as a minister of state (minister for science) in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. He will be a junior minister under secretary of state Peter Kyle.

The man who became synonymous with Covid briefings during the lockdown held the role of the UK Government’s chief scientific adviser throughout the pandemic.

Sir Patrick was knighted in 2022 and will also be made a peer. He has previously backed Labour’s flagship manifesto pledge to set up a publicly owned energy firm.

Prior to his role as chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick worked at pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline. When he stood down from his role in government he worked as the chairman of the Natural History Museum.

Jacqui Smith

Jacqui Smith previously served in Tony Blair’s government (PA)
Jacqui Smith previously served in Tony Blair’s government (PA)

Jacqui Smith has returned as higher education minister, a brief she previously held under Tony Blair 25 years ago.

Ms Smith – who is not an MP – will receive a life peerage to re-enter government.

During her time in the New Labour government, she held multiple ministerial positions before becoming the first female home secretary. She resigned in 2009 due to a series of expenses scandals, including designating a London house she shared with her sister as her main residence and claiming expenses on her home in Redditch.

Following the end of her first political stint, Ms Smith competed on Strictly Come Dancing and hosted a political podcast with Iain Dale.

She will lead on Labour’s skills reforms, including the party’s manifesto pledge to replace the apprenticeship levy and set up Skills England.

James Timpson

James Timpson, CEO of the Timpson Group, which provides key cutting and shoe repair services, has been appointed as the new prisons minister.

During a news conference on Saturday, Sir Keir said Mr Timpson had invested “a huge amount over many years” into rehabilitating offenders and he was “very pleased” to have given him the post.

The Timpson Group regularly employs former prisoners and Mr Timpson is the chair of the Prison Reform Trust charity, which aims to reduce imprisonment and improve conditions for inmates and families.

In an interview with Channel 4 in February, Mr Timpson said: “A lot of people in prison in my view shouldn’t be there, and they are there for far too long. It’s getting worse.

“I meet people in prison, regularly, who are serving sentences longer than they’ve ever been alive for already, and I just think this is common sense being ignored and evidence being ignored, because there is this sentiment around punish and punish.”

Richard Hermer

Richard Hermer leaving Downing Street after the first cabinet meeting (PA)
Richard Hermer leaving Downing Street after the first cabinet meeting (PA)

Richard Hermer KC, an expert in international law, has been appointed as the government’s attorney general.

Mr Hermer was among a group of Jewish lawyers, including the former president of the UK supreme court Lord Neuberger, to write a letter warning that international law must guide Israel’s response to Hamas’s 7 October attack.

However, Mr Hermer’s arrival has meant sidelining Emily Thornberry, who held the shadow attorney general position while in opposition.

The attorney general oversees the government legal department, the Serious Fraud Office and the Crown Prosecution Service. He will be given a life peerage to sit in the House of Lords, and will usually attend cabinet meetings.