Former Gedling MP Vernon Coaker chosen to join Keir Starmer's government

Vernon Coaker and Alex Norris pictured at Hucknall Town Football Club during a visit by Keir Starmer
-Credit: (Image: Joseph Raynor/Nottingham Post)


Former Gedling MP Vernon Coaker has been chosen to join Keir Starmer's government as a defence minister. Lord Coaker, who served as the Labour MP for Gedling for 22 years before losing the seat at the 2019 general election, was confirmed as a minister of state in the Ministry of Defence on Monday (July 8).

Lord Coaker becomes the first Nottinghamshire politician to join Sir Keir's government, with other ministerial appointments expected in the coming days. Lord Coaker was invited to join the House of Lords as Labour's shadow spokesperson for home affairs and defence by Sir Keir in 2020.

His previous government experience included serving as a Home Officer minister and education minister under Gordon Brown's administration. The former Gedling MP also served as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary for a time under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of Labour, before resigning his post in 2016 due to disagreements with him.

Get the latest Nottinghamshire politics news straight to your phone by joining us on WhatsApp

Paying tribute to Sir Keir's leadership of the Labour Party in the days before the July 4 general election, Lord Coaker told Nottinghamshire Live: "It's a massive change. Clearly Jeremy Corbyn was what he was, but we've now got a leader that's electable.

"We've now got a leader that's changed the Labour Party. You can't underestimate the change that Keir Starmer has brought to the Labour Party."

Those praising Lord Coaker's appointment include Michael Payne, the new Labour MP for Gedling who regained the seat from Lord Coaker's Conservative successor, Tom Randall. Mr Payne posted on X: "Congratulations to my predecessor and good friend Vernon Coaker on his appointment as Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence. He brings a wealth of experience to this crucial role and is an outstanding public servant."

Also congratulating the politician was Sherwood Forest's Labour MP, Michelle Welsh, who worked for Lord Coaker both during his time as Gedling MP and as a Lords frontbencher. The Sherwood Forest MP posted on X: "Huge congratulations to my former boss and very good friend Vernon Coaker on his well deserved appointment as Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence. An outstanding appointment."