Starmer to barge Rayner out of key department and demote Nandy

Oliver Dowden compares Rayner and Starmer to Holly and Phil

Keir Starmer is planning yet another reshuffle, with big changes being briefed to the press ahead of the changes to his top team.

According to reports, it seems the women in his shadow cabinet face the biggest changes to their roles.

Lisa Nandy, a popular northerner with a passion for towns and housing, is reportedly facing a humiliating demotion from the role of Shadow Levelling Up Secretary.

Despite Nandy often being pushed as a spokesperson for the party, and Labour shifting to being an overtly pro-housing party, it would be her second big demotion since Sir Keir took over; slowly moving down from Shadow Foreign Secretary.

The reason for Lisa Nandy’s demotion would be to make room for Angela Rayner at the levelling up and housing brief, which Sir Keir feels would be a better fit for her in Government.

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She currently shadows the crucial Cabinet Office portfolio, a less understood role among the public but key in Government to ensuring things get done.

According to the Times, Sir Keir believes levelling up is a “natural fit” for his no-nonsense deputy, “because it covers a wide range of policy areas, would allow her to utilise her good relationships with regional politicians such as Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, and could also allow her to retain elements of her existing portfolio, for example constitutional reform.”

Ms Rayner originally wanted the Cabinet Office shadow cabinet job because it allowed her to shadow Michael Gove at the Commons dispatch box, but he was soon reshuffled out of the role by Boris Johnson.

Sir Keir’s deputy has often been frustrated with his past reshuffles, including not being clued into when they are happening.

In 2021 Ms Rayner was “blindsided” by a reshuffle, telling allies she’d been frustrated the news had overshadowed her keynote speech to the Institute for Government.

As a concession prize she ended up getting a number of new titles to add to her deputy leader position, something Boris Johnson mocked in the Commons.

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One senior party official appeared to insult Ms Rayner, saying: ““It isn’t a case of Ange being allowed to pick and choose any job she likes, she clearly isn’t in a strong enough position to do that”.

Ms Rayner could be replaced at the Cabinet Office by a loyalist of Keir Starmer’s provided they had no leadership ambitions themselves.

The current party chairman Anneliese Dodds, who was demoted as Shadow Chancellor in 2021, is one name in the running.

However the Telegraph separately reported that Ms Dodds should expect another demotion this time around.

One source said Ms Dodds is “not political enough” for her current role, and another claimed she’s done a “poor job” of balancing her dual roles of party chair and shadow women and equalities minister.

Shabana Mahmood, Labour’s national campaign coordinator, is tipped to replace her.

Sir Keir’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Ed Miliband are all reportedly safe in their jobs.

The reshuffle could come within weeks, with Labour sources eyeing the days after the Uxbridge and Selby by-elections set to happen on July 20.

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