Sir Keir Starmer announces senior Shadow Cabinet overhaul

5 April 2020, 17:38

Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Sir Keir Starmer has announced the senior members of his new shadow cabinet after his landslide victory in the Labour leadership race.

Former treasury minister Anneliese Dodds has been made shadow chancellor, his leadership rival Lisa Nandy has been appointed shadow foreign secretary and Nick Thomas-Symonds will be shadow home secretary.

Rachel Reeves will be shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, while Jonathan Ashworth will remain shadow health secretary.

Nick Brown has been re-appointed chief whip and Angela Smith remains shadow leader of the Lords.

John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, who served under Jeremy Corbyn, are out of the shadow cabinet, but former shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry is expected to remain, albeit in a different role.

The only person to keep their job so far is Jon Ashworth as shadow health secretary.

Sir Keir said: "We are living through a national emergency. Under my leadership, the Labour Party will always act in the country's interest to save lives and protect livelihoods. That will be the number one priority of my shadow cabinet.

"We will be a responsible opposition that supports the Government where we believe they are right and challenge them when we believe mistakes are being made."

More junior roles are expected to be announced on Monday.

Lisa Nandy, Rachel Reeves and Anneliese Dodds all have new roles
Lisa Nandy, Rachel Reeves and Anneliese Dodds all have new roles. Picture: PA

New shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said he was "honoured" to be appointed to the role.

He tweeted: "The immediate task is to focus on the #coronaviruscrisis: as @Keir_Starmer said this morning, we will work constructively with the Government, not scoring political points, but also asking the difficult questions needed."

Rachel Reeves, the new shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, tweeted: "It is a huge honour to be appointed by @Keir_Starmer to be shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, shadowing the Cabinet Office.

"I look forward to working with Keir and Team @UKLabour as we provide a constructive opposition at this incredibly difficult time for our country."

Ex-shadow chancellor John McDonnell congratulated his successor.

He tweeted: "Congratulations to @AnnelieseDodds on her appointment as shadow chancellor. Anneliese was a superb member of my Treasury team, is really talented, works incredibly hard and is conscientious in all she does. I wish her every success in her new role & she will have my full support."

Jonathan Ashworth said it was "an honour" to continue as shadow health secretary.

He tweeted: "We're in midst of an unprecedented global health crisis and we must all play our part in helping country & our constituents get through this.

"Our NHS & care staff are responding brilliantly & have my total support. Its an honour to continue as Labour's shadow health secretary."

Lisa Nandy, who finished third in the Labour leadership race, said it was a "real honour" to be part of Sir Keir's shadow cabinet.

In a Twitter post, she wrote: "It's a real honour to be tasked with leading Labour's foreign policy response in these difficult times.

"Thank you Keir Starmer for the opportunity to serve."

After a contest that lasted for months, the shadow Brexit secretary and former director of public prosecutions was announced as Jeremy Corbyn’s successor on Friday.

Angela Rayner was announced as the party's new deputy leader.

Sir Keir and Ms Rayner won with 56.2% and 52.6% of the vote respectively.

Sir Keir said: "It is the honour and the privilege of my life to be elected as leader of the Labour Party. It comes at a moment like none other in our lifetime.

“Coronavirus has brought normal life to a halt. Our cities, our towns and our villages are silent, our roads deserted. Public life has all but come to a standstill and we're missing each other. “It reminds us of what really matters, our family, our friends, our relationships. The love we have for one another. Our health.

“Under my leadership we will engage constructively with the Government, not opposition for opposition's sake. Not scoring party political points or making impossible demands. But with the courage to support where that's the right thing to do.

“But we will test the arguments that are put forward. We will shine a torch on critical issues and where we see mistakes or faltering government or things not happening as quickly as they should we’ll challenge that and call that out.

“Our purpose when we do that is the same as the Government's, to save lives and to protect our country, a shared purpose.

He won beating Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy to the top spot.

Sir Keir led the race from the start, winning the backing of 89 members of the parliamentary party in the first round of the contest, before securing the support of more than a dozen affiliated organisations in the second stage.

Mr Corbyn announced that he would quit as Labour leader in December, after the party suffered its worst general election defeat since 1935 - following years of faction in-fighting, accusations of institutional anti-Semitism and bitter divisions over Brexit.