| 20 June 2024, Thursday |

UK: Opposition Labour Party reshuffles top team

Leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, made changes to his top team on Monday, in anticipation of the national election scheduled for next year. One of the notable appointments was the selection of his deputy, Angela Rayner, as the Labour Party’s chief for levelling-up policies.
Rayner is a popular lawmaker among the party members. She is set to take the higher profile role that will ‘shadow’ the government’s policies in order to level up or address regional inequality in the country.

Rayner will shadow veteran Conservative Michael Gove as well as Oliver Dowden, deputy of UK PM Rishi Sunak.
Lisa Nandy who was Labour Party’s levelling up policy chief, has been made the shadow minister for international development.
“Keir is delighted that Angela has accepted this important role, in addition she will continue to be the strategic lead on Labour’s new deal for working people,” a Labour source said, as quoted by Reuters.

Labour currently has a wide lead in the opinion polls ahead of next year’s expected national election. However, the party is treading cautiouslyand being mindful that it needs to win back traditional supporters who voted for Conservative Party in 2019.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson won a convincing victory for the party in 2019 by tapping anger among voters who traditionally supported Labour. His “levelling up agenda” had become one of his main priorities.
Rishi Sunak, Johnson’s successor and current UK PM has faced criticism for not adequately prioritising levelling up agenda. There has been a talk that he is too concerned about losing traditional Conservative voters in more affluent parts in southern England.

The reshuffle so far
Other than Angela Rayner, these Labour leaders have found themselves in the midst of reshuffle

Liz Kendall, who was previously a shadow health minister is now shadow work and pensions secretary

Jonathan Ashworth was the previous shadow work and prensions secretary. He is now shadow paymaster general in the cabinet office.

Thangam Debbonaire, the ex-shadow leader of the House of Commons, has now been made shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport. Debonaire has takeb over from Lucy Powell in a straight job swap.

Steve Reed has been made shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

Hillary Benn has returned to the shadow cabinet as shadow Northern Ireland secretary.

Peter Kyle is now shadow secretary of state for science, innovation and technology.

Shabana Mahmood has become shadow secretary of state for justice.

Pat McFadden has been appointed shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and national campaign co-ordinator of the Labour Party.

Preet Gill Kaur has left the post of international development minister

Darren Jones is the new shadow chief secretary to the treasury. He has taken over from McFadden.

Nick Thomas-Symonds has been appointed shadow minister without portfolio in the cabinet office.

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