Coaker was appointed shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland in 1997. Following the September 2015 Labour leadership election, Coaker resumed the role of shadow Northern Ireland secretary which he had served under Ed Milliband, moving on from shadow defence minister. 
Contributions and secondments
Between April 2014 and April 2015, 13 members of the Labour Party received a total of £597,404 in secondments from the Big Four accountancy firms (PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst and Young). During this time Coaker received a secondment worth £13,039 from KPMG.
- Labour Friends of Israel - in January 2014 Coaker took part in an MPs' factfinding visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories with defence and security focus. 
- Vernon Coaker, www.parliament.uk, 24 August 2013.
- Who's who in Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet BBC News, Accessed 16 September 2015
- Carlos Martin Tornero Labour to win, if Big Four donation patterns become self-fulfilling prophecy The Accountant, 5 May 2015, accessed 18 May 2015.
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