Labour's Keir Starmer promotes Angela Rayner to shadow levelling up role in reshuffle

Re-jig of the opposition party's top team comes as MPs return to parliament after summer recess

Angela Rayner's new role includes scrutinising local government, housing and the so-called levelling-up agenda. Reuters
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Labour leader Keir Starmer has handed deputy leader Angela Rayner the role of shadow levelling up secretary in a reshuffle.

A Labour source said Mr Starmer had given her an “important role” in his shadow cabinet. She had previously been shadowing the Cabinet Office.

“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,” the source said.

Ms Rayner takes over the post from Lisa Nandy.

Ms Nandy has been appointed shadow cabinet minister for international development.

The move will be seen as a demotion from her previous role as she no longer directly shadows a secretary of state.

Among other moves:

· Mirroring a departmental reorganisation by the Conservative government, Labour has appointed Peter Kyle as shadow secretary of state for science, innovation and technology.

· Hilary Benn, a former shadow foreign secretary, has made a return to the shadow cabinet as shadow Northern Ireland secretary.

· Jonathan Ashworth has been shifted from shadow work and pensions secretary to the role of shadow paymaster general in the Cabinet Office.

Ms Nandy was one of Mr Starmer's rivals during the party’s 2020 leadership contest.

A source said she was looking forward to “getting stuck into” her new international development responsibilities.

Andrew Mitchell, who is responsible for international development in the Conservative government, is a minister of state in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Ms Rayner, in a widely predicted move, has been shifted to focus on a brief that includes local government, housing and the so-called levelling-up agenda, which involves scrutinising the government’s pledge to create economic opportunities outside London and the South-East.

The 43-year-old was elected as MP for Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester in 2015.

Mr Starmer chose to reshuffle his team on Monday as MPs returned to parliament following the summer recess.

The party is preparing for its annual conference in October which could be the final such gathering before a general election.

Labour continues to enjoy a strong lead in opinion polls, with the latest ballot by Opinium on Saturday giving them a 14-point lead over Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives.

Jim McMahon announced his resignation as shadow education secretary shortly before the reshuffle.

Publishing his resignation letter on X, formerly Twitter, the Oldham West and Royton MP said he remained a “firm supporter of Keir” despite his decision to leave the shadow cabinet role.

Updated: September 04, 2023, 11:47 AM