Jim McMahon and Andy McDonald

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers' trade union, has welcomed the news that Keir Starmer has appointed Jim McMahon as the new Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, and appointed Andy McDonald as the new Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights.

Mick said: 'Jim, as the son of a lorry driver, knows about transport. He has been a thoughtful, hard-working, and determined Member of Parliament, and shadow minister, just as he was a thoughtful, hard-working, and determined local councillor in Oldham for twelve years.

'I know he will build on the ambitious work of Andy McDonald who has prepared detailed plans to take Britain's railways back into public ownership – a policy popular with passengers, businesses, and even Conservative voters – who are fed up with the failure of the fractured franchise system and all the problems of privatisation.

'We look forward to working with Jim to help return a Labour government at the next general election committed to rebuilding the railway – and this country – for the 21st century.'

Mick also praised the work of Andy McDonald – and looks forward to working with him in his new role.

He said: 'Andy has done terrific work over the last four years, holding the Tories to account for the many failures of the government, while preparing new policies for the next Labour government that are both inspirational and practical. Inspirational because they reflect the values of the labour movement, and practical because they are properly costed, properly thought through, and properly popular with passengers, staff, and taxpayers who have had enough of privatisation.

'We now look forward to working closely with Andy in his new job – a job in which he can draw on his work, before he came into Parliament, as an employment lawyer for 25 years with Thompsons solicitors.'