Labour reshuffle: Sir Keir Starmer to shake up shadow cabinet

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Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner at the labour Party conference, Brighton, S

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is expected to reshuffle his shadow cabinet on Monday.

The long-awaited change of Labour’s top team coincides with MPs returning to Westminster from their summer break.

There is much speculation over what role Sir Keir may give his deputy leader Angela Rayner.

The reshuffle will come on Sue Gray’s first day as Sir Keir’s chief of staff. The former civil servant rose to fame during her investigation of Partygate.

It is not expected that Sir Keir will swap his most senior colleagues – including the shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.

Angela Rayner was directly elected to be deputy leader by party members, meaning she will keep that position no matter what.

But she also currently shadows the Cabinet Office brief, which focusses on government procedure and the effective running of government. In government the Cabinet Office is headed up by Ms Rayner’s opposite number the deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden.

In recent years she has focused heavily on scrutinising ethical issues in politics, from so-called “sleaze” to accusing her opposite numbers of “wasting taxpayers money”.

Some Labour sources expect that she may be put in charge of running a specific, domestic policy area instead.

A few names that have been tipped for possible promotion include the chair of parliament’s business committee – Darren Jones.

He has been widely regarded as an effective communicator and his forensic grilling of companies such as Thames Water, Royal Mail and P&O at various committee hearings has often landed him positive headlines.

If promoted, it is not clear what policy area could be vacated for him to fill. He could possibly cover the environment, if Jim McMahon is demoted.

Labour still also has not appointed anyone to shadow the government’s new science, innovation and technology secretary.

Mr Jones has been vocal about, for example, his belief that Artificial Intelligence and technology can be a “force for good” if adopted in the right way and should be central to Labour’s plans for improving education or the NHS.

Lucy Powell currently covers the digital, culture and media brief for Labour so could also be a potential candidate should this role be filled.

Rishi Sunak also made a few changes to his top team last Thursday.

He replaced the former defence secretary Ben Wallace with Grant Shapps, and promoted his close ally Claire Coutinho to be the energy and net zero secretary.

The prime minister is expected to carry out a wider government reshuffle in the coming months.

Both parties are holding annual party conferences in October and both leaders are hoping to get their top teams in shape ahead of the next general election – expected at some point next year.

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