Keir Starmer made Rayner ‘more powerful’ with desperate ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to election

Keir Starmer reshuffles cabinet following Labour election loss

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Tom Newton Dunn invited onto TimesRadio to discuss Keir Starmer’s cabinet reshuffle following a string of electoral defeats for the Labour Party in last week’s elections. Sir Keir had reportedly looked to sack deputy leader Angela Rayner on Saturday evening but was forced to back down after the move triggered outrage from key trade union officials and party members.

Mr Newton Dunn told the programme the move to remove the deputy leader had stirred up “quite a storm.”

He said: “Several members of the Shadow Cabinet I spoke to were in pandemonium about what Keir Starmer was going and why he was doing it.

“They felt it was a desperate knee jerk reaction that hadn’t been thought out as a result of the election 

“Not because it was a bad idea to move Angela Rayner but because of the optics of sacking someone.”

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He continued: “Using a woman from the north as a scapegoat, that annoyed some people, for the mess that was the local elections.

“So this then cascaded into a terrible problem for him.”

“Angela Rayner actually ended up with this extraordinary number of titles,” said Mr Newton Dunn.

He explained Ms Rayner has now been given four portfolios in the Shadow Cabinet and is potentially “more powerful” than she was before the reshuffle.

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It comes a vicious bout of recriminations gripped Labour in the wake of last week’s disastrous electoral performance.

Sir Keir quickly announced a reshuffle of his shadow frontbench following the results which saw Labour lose control of Hartlepool and a string of local councils.

Announcing his reshuffle, Sir Keir said: “The Labour Party must be the party that embraces the demand for change across our country.

“That will require bold ideas and a relentless focus on the priorities of the British people.”

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He added: “Just as the pandemic has changed what is possible and what is necessary, so Labour must change too.

In the last 24 hours, we have seen fantastic results for Labour metro mayors, as well as the Labour government in Wales under Mark Drakeford.

“They have shown the difference Labour can make in power, standing up for their communities.”

Among the changes, Anneliese Dodds was axed as Shadow Chancellor to be replaced by Rachel Reeves while the shadow chief whip of the party, Nick Brown, also lost his job and was replaced by Alan Campbell.

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