UK Politics

Keir Starmer Appoints New Shadow Cabinet

Written by Callum Williams

After his decisive victory in the Labour Leadership contest, Sir Keir Starmer’s first task was to appoint a new shadow cabinet. His task was reminiscent of Theresa May’s when she had to balance her cabinet with Brexiteers and Remainers to stop her own party imploding. For Starmer, this task included balancing his cabinet with members of both the left and centre of the party, in an attempt to achieve his goal of party unity.

Anneliese Dodds – Shadow Chancellor

Anneliese Dodds will replace John McDonald as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. Aberdeen-born Dodds pursued a career in academia, lecturing in public policy at King’s College London and Aston University before she was elected to the European Parliament in 2014 and then Westminister in 2017. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, she worked as Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

Despite being new to parliament and having little name-recognition, she is undoubtedly an intelligent and competent candidate for chancellor. Ideologically, she is viewed as a soft left europhile and is well liked within the parliamentary party. Her appointment demonstrates Starmer’s commitment to party unity and a Shadow Cabinet based on competence rather than ideology.

Lisa Nandy – Shadow Foreign Secretary

After coming last in the Leadership race with only 16.2% of the vote, Lisa Nandy still managed to end up at the top of the Shadow Cabinet replacing Emily Thornberry as Shadow Home Secretary. Nandy was first elected as MP for wigan in in 2010 and belongs to the centrist wing of the party and served as co-chair of Owen Smith’s unsuccessful challenge against Jeremy Corbyn in 2015.

Nick Thomas-Symonds – Shadow Home Secretary

Nick Thomas-Symonds, another barrister who joined parliament in 2015, will replace Diane Abbott as Shadow Home Secretary. He has previously served as Shadow Minister for Security, Shadow Minister for Employment and Shadow Minister for Pensions. He, like Nandy, supported Owen Smith in the 2016 leadership election but still served in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet from 2017 to 2020.

Notable Appointments

Ed Miliband, former Labour Leader, has been appointed as Shadow Business, Energy and Industrial Secretary.

David Lammy, a relatively high profile backbench MP, has been appointed as Shadow Justice Secretary.

Jonathan Ashworth, a Corbyn Supporter, will remain as Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Emily Thornberry, a key member of Corbyn’s inner circle was demoted from Shadow Foreign Secretary to Shadow International Development Secretary.

Rebecca Long Bailey, runner up in the Leadership Contest, has been appointed as Shadow Education Secretary.

Other Appointments

  • Angela Rayner – Deputy Leader and Chair of the Labour Party
  • Rachel Reeves – Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
  • John Healey – Shadow Defence Secretary
  • Jonathan Reynolds – Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary
  • Jo Stevens – Shadow Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  • Bridget Philipson – Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
  • Luke Pollard – Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary
  • Steve Reed – Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary
  • Thangam Debbonaire – Shadow Housing Secretary
  • Jim McMahon – Shadow Transport Secretary
  • Preet Kaur Gill – Shadow International Development Secretary
  • Louise Haigh – Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary (interim)
  • Ian Murray – Shadow Scotland Secretary
  • Nia Griffith – Shadow Wales Secretary
  • Marsha de Cordova – Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary
  • Andy McDonald – Shadow Employment Rights and Protections Secretary
  • Rosena Allin-Khan – Shadow Minister for Mental Health
  • Cat Smith – Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement
  • Lord Falconer – Shadow Attorney General
  • Valerie Vaz – Shadow Leader of the House
  • Nick Brown – Opposition Chief Whip
  • Baroness Smith – Shadow Leader of the Lords
  • Lord McAvoy – Lords’ Opposition Chief Whip

Starmer’s new Shadow Cabinet has a relatively equal level of representation from both major wings of the party in an attempt to unify the party. However, the divisions within the Labour Party run deep and despite Starmer’s rhetoric about unity, neither wing of the party seems ready to compromise. Whether Starmer’s leadership can heal these fractures, remains to be seen.

About the author

Callum Williams

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