Hilary Benn, who last served the Labour frontbench in 2016 under Jeremy Corbyn, also made a return to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary…reports Asian Lite News
Keir Starmer has picked his top team to front Labour’s general election campaign, with promotions for Liz Kendall, Angela Rayner and Shabana Mahmood.
The Labour leader said the new-look team meant the party had the “strongest possible players on the pitch” ahead of next year’s vote.
Key figures including Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper were all kept in post in the first major reshuffle since November 2021. Wes Streeting, Bridget Phillipson and Ed Miliband, all held onto their health, education and net zero briefs respectively.
Deputy Leader Angela Rayner was also handed a promotion to take charge of the Levelling Up and Housing super-department. She will also become Deputy Prime Minister if the party emerges victorious at the next election,
But it meant a brutal demotion for the previous holder of the Levelling Up post, Lisa Nandy, who ran against Mr Starmer in the 2020 leadership contest. The senior Labour MP will still attend the Shadow Cabinet, but in a lower-ranking role as minister for International Development.
Rising star Darren Jones, who chaired the Commons Business and Trade Committee, joined the Labour leader’s top team as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. In a key promotion, Ms Mahmood became Shadow Justice Secretary. A Labour source told The Mirror: “This promotion is recognition of the integral role Shabana has played in transforming the Labour party as National Campaign Coordinator”.
Shadow minister Kendall also took over the Shadow Work and Pensions brief from Jonathan Ashworth, who became Shadow Paymaster General. Mr Ashworth’s allies claimed it meant he will effectively become “minister for the Today programme” – touring the media studios on behalf of the party.
Hilary Benn, who last served the Labour frontbench in 2016 under Jeremy Corbyn, also made a return to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary.
But the Shadow Minister for Mental Health Rosena Allin-Khan resigned from her post. She said she will continue to work from the backbenches to deliver a Labour government but said in a letter to Mr Starmer: “You made clear that you do not see a space for a mental health portfolio in the a Labour cabinet, which is why I told you many weeks ago that I would not be able to continue in this role”.
After concluding the reshuffle, Starmer said: “Britain deserves a government that wakes up every morning absolutely determined to take on the challenges we face and to improve the lives of hard-working people. Today shows that’s what the British people will get with Labour. “I’m really pleased that having put in the hard yards to change the Labour Party, we now have such a strong team on the pitch that is ready to deliver the change our country desperately needs.
“My Shadow Cabinet and I will spend every day until the General Election showing that there is an alternative and that Britain can get its future back.” The refreshed team will meet on Tuesday for a Shadow Cabinet meeting as Starmer prepares for a major speech at Labour conference next month.
The reshuffle follows Rishi Sunak’s mini Cabinet re-shuffle, in which he avoided major changes but gave new appointments to close allies Grant Shapps and Claire Coutinho to defence and energy briefs. Some expect the Prime Minister to carry out a wider Government reshuffle in the coming months.