Keir Starmer appoints Labour leadership rival Lisa Nandy shadow foreign secretary as he unveils top team
Anneliese Dodds, a former shadow treasury minister under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, was also given a significant promotion to shadow chancellor while Nick Thomas-Symonds was appointed shadow home secretary – replacing Diane Abbott.
Rachel Reeves, who served on Ed Miliband’s frontbench, will be shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, tasked with scrutinising Michael Gove’s work at the Cabinet Office, while Jonathan Ashworth will remain in the position he has held since 2016 as shadow health secretary.
John McDonnell and Ms Abbott – both key allies of Corbyn’s leadership – announced they were resigning from their positions as shadow chancellor and shadow home secretary yesterday, as the results of Labour’s internal ballot were announced.
Speaking of his successor, Mr McDonnell said on Sunday: “Anneliese was a superb member of my Treasury team, is really talented, works incredibly hard and is conscientious in all she does. I wish her every success in her new role and she will have my full support.”
Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, Ian Lavery, the party chairman, and Jon Trickett, the shadow cabinet office minister, were all removed from their positions on Sunday afternoon by the new leader.
Former shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, who was eliminated from the leadership contest at the second round, will remain on the frontbench team, though her position has not yet been announced.
The Independent also understands Rebecca Long-Bailey, the Salford & Eccles MP who ran on for the leadership on a left-wing platform, will be offered a role in Sir Keir’s shadow cabinet.
Unveiling his top team, Sir Keir said: “We are living through a national emergency. Under my leadership, the Labour Party will always act in the country’s interests to save lives and protect livelihoods. That will be the number one priority of my shadow cabinet.
“We will be a responsible opposition that supports the government when we believe they are right and challenge them when we believe mistakes are being made.”
Ms Nandy, who won plaudits during the leadership campaign for her media appearances, said it was a “real honour” to part of the new shadow cabinet “tasked with leading Labour’s foreign policy response in these difficult times”.
Earlier on Sunday, the new Labour leader received a briefing from senior officials on the coronavirus pandemic ahead of a discussion with Boris Johnson over the government’s response to the outbreak later this week. Cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill, chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty and the chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance were on the call.
“During the call, the Labour leader reiterated his commitment to work constructively with the government in the national interest,” a spokesperson said.
Earlier, on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sir Keir said he had aimed to recruit a diverse team from across the country and party who “want to serve towards the future aim of winning that next general election”. Further appointments are expected in the coming days.