LONDON (Bywire News) - As the general election inches closer, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has reshuffled his shadow cabinet, instigating a flurry of promotions, demotions and even some resignations. Overall, Deputy Labour Party leader Angela Rayner was one of the clear winners in this latest shake-up.
Rayner, having once mesmerised union activists as a union representative, now formally inhabits the role of shadow deputy prime minister. She also takes on the remit as shadow levelling up secretary, responsible for ensuring a uniformity of services and outcomes throughout the nation. The party added that Rayner would retain her function as the leading force behind Labour's strategy for improving conditions for workers.
Shabana Mahmood, right hand to Sir Keir and key instrument in the recent transformation of the party, won the post of shadow justice secretary. Previously, she acted as the national campaign co-ordinator, where she showed her tenacity and zeal for reform.
Another to secure a significant progression was Liz Kendall, proving once again that perseverance often leads to achievement. Kendall, who once ran for leadership and has served for a number of years as a junior shadow health minister, now takes on the role of shadow work and pensions secretary.
Labour faithful, Pat McFadden, moved from his position as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury to fill the role of shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. McFadden will also helm the national election campaign.
Peter Kyle, the shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, who was instrumental through the Brexit muddle and its aftermath, was given a new portfolio to handle, as shadow science, innovation and technology minister.
Fresh faces in the shadow cabinet include Darren Jones, acclaimed for keeping ministers on their toes during inquiry sessions when chairing the business select committee. Jones now moves up to the mantle of shadow chief secretary to the Treasury. Alongside him, Hilary Benn, Labour stalwart and well-experienced in assuming multiple governmental and shadow roles, marks his return to the frontline as shadow Northern Ireland secretary after a seven-year hiatus.
Disappointingly for Lisa Nandy, who championed the levelling up portfolio, she was demoted to the role of shadow minister for international development. Steve Reed also conceded ground, moving from shadow justice secretary to shadow environment secretary. However, with climate change being an increasingly important topic, he should find ample room to manoeuvre here. Paper shuffling also saw Lucy Powell being reassigned from shadow culture secretary to the leader of the House.
Resignations shadowed the reshuffle, with Jim McMahon citing ill health as his reason for bowing out from his role as shadow environment secretary. Rosena Allin-Khan voluntarily took a step back, stepping down as shadow minister for mental health due to differing views with the party leadership on the relevance of the role.
The revised Labour lineup marks an intentional attempt at championing new skills, experiences and voices within the party, as they prepare to present a strong and united face for the forthcoming elections.
(By Michael O'Sullivan)