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Labour Front Bench Are In The Dark Over Their Jobs As Shadow Cabinet Reshuffle Hinges on Angela Rayner

Labour Front Bench Are In The Dark Over Their Jobs As Shadow Cabinet Reshuffle Hinges on Angela Rayner
3 min read

Shadow cabinet ministers are on tenterhooks as they await personal phonecalls from leader Keir Starmer on how he intends to reform his team in a post-election reshuffle.

Sources say there will not be contact with other frontbenchers until a solution is found over the role of deputy leader Angela Rayner, who was yesterday sacked from her job as party chair and elections coordinator, though she has apparently been offered another shadow cabinet post.

Following the angry fall-out from Rayner's sacking overnight, the new-look shadow cabinet is now expected to involve only a number of small changes, and won't be a root and branch overhaul of Starmer's current team.

Briefings from those supporting Rayner said it was a terrible look for the party to have removed a northern working class woman and from her position just hours after Starmer said he would take personal responsibility for the result. 

One Labour source said Rayner is in talks with Starmer today, and until that is resolved, no-one is expecting a phone call to inform them what job they might be offered, and no-one was teed up by the leader's office yesterday at all.  

A source said: "Everything else is on hold until the situation with Angela Rayner is resolved. Then they will be making one or two phone calls but it'll be fewer in number than they originally expected."

While it has been speculated shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds may be moved to a new post, it is understood her team have not had a call from Starmer so far this weekend.

According to Labour's media grid, she is earmarked to lead on Labour's messaging going into the this week's Queen's Speech.

Current shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy is rumoured to be in the running for a Cabinet focused role shadowing Michael Gove on levelling up policies, though as of this afternoon, her team have not been contacted directly by the leader's office.

Starmer received widespread criticism last night after Rayner was sacked just 24 hours after he said he would take personal responsibility for the election result, which saw them lose the Hartlepool by-election and a number of councils to the Conservatives. There was also a huge increase in the vote share for Tory Mayor for Teesside, Ben Houchen. 

But the elections weren't a total disaster for Labour, who won Wales, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayoralty and Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham won second terms as mayors of London and Greater Manchester. 

There have been grumblings this afternoon among MPs that the wider party is being cut out of the process of deciding on the reshuffle, with just a very small team thrashing out plans with Starmer.

They include his chief of staff, Morgan McSweeney, his director of policy, Claire Ainsley, and director of communications, Ben Nunn.  

One Labour MP said the leader's office was clearly spending today "trying to fix the Angela problem they created". 

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