Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has sacked his shadow chancellor and chief whip as part of an overhaul in the wake of the party’s poor performance in the local elections.
Rachel Reeves has been promoted to shadow chancellor as part of Sir Keir’s reshuffle of his top team, with former incumbent Anneliese Dodds relegated to party chairman.
Deputy leader Angela Rayner, fired as party chairman and elections co-ordinator on Saturday following Labour’s shock Hartlepool by-election defeat, will take Ms Reeves’ former post as shadow chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster.
Ms Rayner has also been given other responsibilities, with Labour confirming she will be shadow first secretary of state, while also having a “future of work” brief.
Nick Brown has been replaced as shadow chief whip by Alan Campbell, while Thangam Debbonaire has been moved to shadow Commons leader.
The decision to dismiss Mr Brown, who had served in government as Gordon Brown’s chief whip before taking the shadow equivalent job under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, was criticised by a Labour grandee.
Sacking Nick Brown, one of the most experienced and tactically astute chief whips the party has ever had, is inept in the extreme. This looks like Mandelson’s revenge.— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) May 9, 2021
Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted: “Sacking Nick Brown, one of the most experienced and tactically astute chief whips the party has ever had, is inept in the extreme.
“This looks like (Lord) Mandelson’s revenge.”
Ms Debbonaire replaces Valerie Vaz, who was been ousted from the shadow cabinet as part of the shake-up, with Lucy Powell taking the Bristol West MP’s former post as shadow housing secretary.
“Optimism and inspiration for the future”
Lisa Nandy, whose role as shadow to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was rumoured to be under threat, has remained in position.
In fact, the majority of the personnel in the top positions in the shadow cabinet have remained the same during Sir Keir’s first reshuffle since being elected leader in April 2020.
The Opposition leader said the election results in Scotland and Wales, along with the host of mayoral wins in England during the Super Thursday elections, gave the party “optimism and inspiration for the future”.
But he said Labour would “require bold ideas and a relentless focus on the priorities of the British people” to regain power once again.
“The challenge for us now is to build upon these successes and learn from the places we lost,” Sir Keir said.
“I look forward to working with our refreshed and renewed team to take on that challenge, deliver that change and build the ambitious programme that will deliver the next Labour government.”
Labour shadow cabinet reshuffle in full
Promoted/ demoted within shadow cabinet:
- Angela Rayner: WAS Party chair and campaign co-ordinator, NOW Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work, Shadow First Secretary of State, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
- Anneliese Dodds: WAS Shadow Chancellor, NOW Party Chair & Chair of Labour Policy Review.
- Rachel Reeves: WAS Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, NOW Shadow Chancellor.
- Thangam Debbonaire: WAS Shadow Housing Secretary, NOW Shadow Leader of the Commons.
New appointees to shadow cabinet:
- Shabana Mahmood: WAS backbenches, NOW National Campaign Co-ordinator.
- Sir Alan Campbell: WAS Deputy Chief Whip, NOW Chief Whip.
- Lucy Powell: WAS Shadow Business Minister, NOW Shadow Housing Secretary.
- Wes Streeting: WAS Shadow Education Minister, NOW Shadow Secretary of State for Child Poverty.
Ditched from shadow cabinet:
- Nick Brown: WAS Chief Whip
- Valerie Vaz: WAS Shadow Leader of the Commons.