DAME Rebecca Harris has vowed to ensure Keir Starmer’s new Labour Government face a “strong challenge” after being appointed as opposition deputy chief whip.

The Castle Point MP was one of just two south Essex Tories who retained their seats at last week’s General Election and will now be tasked with holding the Government to account in her new role.

Dame Rebecca was first elected as Castle Point MP in 2010 and was recently made a Dame as part of the King’s Birthday honours for her political and public service.

Speaking on her appointment, Dame Rebecca said she hopes to provide a “strong challenge” for Keir Starmer’s new administration.

She said: “It’s important to have a strong opposition to ensure the new Government are held to account. Because of the number of people opting for Reform this year in previously Conservative seats, Labour have got a large majority on a very small vote share.

“So there are millions of voters who did not vote for Keir Starmer to become Prime Minister, including tens of thousands of my own residents in Castle Point. I am looking forward to playing my part in ensuring Starmer’s Government face a strong challenge on their behalf in the House of Commons.”

And immediately after being announced in the role, Dame Rebecca raised concerns about the new Labour Government’s plan to build 1.5million homes across the country.

She said: “This smacks of someone sitting in an office in Whitehall with a map circling sites for development in Green Belt without knowing anything about the effects on the local area or the strains on local infrastructure.

“Here in Castle Point we are hemmed in by water with only three roads in and out of the Borough. We cannot take more traffic from huge housing developments on our roads. “Local residents who would be effected by new developments must have a say and their local representatives must be listened to. We have fought hard to defend our Green Belt here in Castle Point and I will keep on fighting side by side with residents to defend the local sites they treasure.”

Before the calling of the General Election, Ms Harris served as a Senior Government Whip and held the unique position of “Comptroller of His Majesty’s Household”.