Keir Starmer appoints rival Lisa Nandy to top job as he unveils shadow cabinet

Keir Starmer appoints leadership rival Lisa Nandy to top job but snubbed Rebecca Long-Bailey.

It is a huge promotion for Ms Nandy who came third in the contest but had a good campaign securing more votes than expected.

But Long-Bailey, who came second in the race and was widely-dubbed the Corbyn continuity candidate, did not get one of the top roles.

Ms Nandy said in response: “It’s a real honour to be tasked with leading Labour’s foreign policy response in these difficult times. Thank you Keir Starmer for the opportunity to serve.”

The new party boss made Anneliese Dodds Shadow Chancellor – a huge promotion for the former MEP who is widely-liked by the parliamentary Labour Party – and Nick Thomas-Symonds replaced Diane Abbott as Shadow Home Secretary.

Angela Rayner, who won the deputy leadership contest, was made party chairwoman, while Jon Ashworth remains Shadow Health Secretary.

Rachel Reeves, who was Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary under Ed Miliband, was given a job shadowing Michael Gove.

The MPs form Labour’s C-19 Committee, responsible for coordinating the party’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Starmer said: “We are living through a national emergency.

“Under my leadership, the Labour Party will always act in the country’s interest to save lives and protect livelihoods.

Lisa Nandy is now the shadow foreign secretary

“That will be the number one priority of my Shadow Cabinet.

“We will be a responsible opposition that supports the Government where we believe they are right and challenge them when we believe mistakes are being made.”

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Mr Thomas-Symonds, a Welsh barrister, said he was “honoured” at his appointment.

He added: “The immediate task is to focus on the #coronaviruscrisis: as @Keir_Starmer said this morning, we will work constructively with the Government, not scoring political points, but also asking the difficult questions needed.”

Ms Reeves posted: “It is a huge honour to be appointed by (Mr Starmer) to be shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, shadowing the Cabinet Office. I look forward to working with Keir and Team @UKLabour as we provide a constructive opposition at this incredibly difficult time for our country.”

Mr Starmer wielded the knife on his first full day as party premier, ousting frontbenchers who were close to Mr Corbyn.

Barry Gardiner, who was fired as Shadow International Trade Secretary, tweeted: “Just received a courteous phone call from Keir Starmer standing me down from Shadow Cabinet.

“I wished him and his new team well.

“I will continue to do all I can to serve the party and ensure a Labour victory at the next General Election.”

Jon Trickett was sacked as Shadow Cabinet Office Minister.

The MP for Hemsworth, West Yorks, tweeted: “Keir has politely asked me to stand down from Shadow Cabinet.

“I reaffirm my commitment to the cause of working class emancipation and to the North.

“The struggle continues.”

Key Corbyn loyalist Ian Lavery was sacked as party chairman, saying: “It has been an absolute honour and privilege to have been chair of this great party.

“Solidarity to the new leadership and incoming Shadow Cabinet.”

But Mr Starmer opted to keep on Nick Brown as Chief Whip, and Baroness Angela Smith will remain as Labour’s leader in the House of Lords.

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Other Shadow Cabinet posts are expected to be announced on Monday.

The radical shake-up was widely-tipped as Mr Starmer used his landslide victory to assert his authority and clear out those most associated with the Corbyn regime.

Jon Trickett and Ian Lavery are both out

He secured 56% of the 490,731 votes cast in the three-month contest – beating his rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Ms Nandy tin the race for the party reins.

The new leader told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show the Shadow Cabinet would be “balanced across the party, it will be balanced across the country and balanced in terms of diversity”.

Asked if “Blairites” would feature, he said: “We aren’t badging people by the past, we are focused on how we win the 2024 general election.”

The team would be packed with “those that want to serve towards the future aim of winning that next general election”, he added.

Mr Corbyn had issued a defiant valedictory message to supporters before stepping down, claiming he had left the party in a position to win the 2024 election.

But Mr Starmer said: “We’ve just lost four elections in a row, and therefore of course we need to change because if we don’t change we will lose the next general election.”

He said he would judge his success at tackling anti-Semitism within Labour ranks by whether Jewish supporters rejoin.

Ex health sec Alan Johnson hit out at the factional warfare

He said: “I will judge it not in numbers but ‘Do people feel comfortable coming back to our party?’ and other people who have felt they can’t support us – so that will be my test.”

Meanwhile, former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson issued a damning verdict on four-and-a-half years of Corbynism – and praised Mr Starmer.

He told Sky News: “We need to get away from this cult that has taken us over and this is absolutely the right first step.

“We have got someone there who I think is capable of leading this party back to victory but goodness, he’s got a hell of a job on his hands.”

Lashing out at the pro-Corbyn Momentum group, he added: “I’m afraid there’s no sign that they have buried the weapons.”

He accused it of being “devoted to internecine warfare”.



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