A key role campaigning against increases to student tuition fees has been handed to Birmingham MP Shabana Mahmood, as Labour leader Ed Miliband shakes up his front bench team.
Ms Mahmood (Lab Ladywood) has become a shadow minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, the department responsible for universities.
She will focus on higher education and lead Labour’s fight against the Government’s plans to increase the maximum fee for teaching to £9,000 per year.
The controversial proposal prompted a major demonstration in London which descended into violence as students attacked the Conservative Party’s headquarters in Westminster.
Labour last month announced its own proposals to cap the fees to £6,000.
Ms Mahmood, who was previously a shadow home affairs minister, will also focus on measures to improve access to higher education for students from inner city and minority backgrounds.
She attended Small Heath School until completing her GCSEs and studied for A-levels at Camp Hill School for Girls in Kings Heath before winning a place at Oxford University.
Ms Mahmood said: “I felt like I was in the minority at Oxford. I was the only Muslim woman in my college.
“But I had a very positive experience.
“I want to get the message out to pupils from non-traditional backgrounds that they shouldn’t be put off and shouldn’t think university’s not for them because it is.”
In other changes to the Labour team, Black Country MP Ian Austin (Lab Dudley North) becomes a shadow minister for Work and Pensions and Emma Reynolds (Lab Wolverhampton North East) is shadow minister for Europe.
John Spellar (Lab Warley) continues as a shadow foreign minister and Jack Dromey (Lab Erdington) continues as a shadow local government minister.
As announced last week, Tom Watson (Lab West Bromwich East) has joined the shadow cabinet to become Labour party deputy chair and campaign coordinator, while Liam Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill) continues as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary.