©UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor

Labour reshuffle: The promotions and demotions in Starmer’s shadow cabinet — as it happened

Sir Keir Starmer has finished his shadow cabinet reshuffle, begun this morning as MPs returned to Westminster following the summer recess.

It came as Sue Gray, former partygate investigator and senior civil servant, starts in her new role as Sir Keir’s chief of staff.

Angela Rayner, the elected deputy leader of the Labour Party, has been handed the levelling up, housing and communities brief which was formerly held by Lisa Nandy. It comes after weeks of speculation about the switch.

Nandy has accepted the role of shadow cabinet minister for international development.

Rayner previously coveted an elaborate 24-word job title as shadow first secretary of state, shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and shadow secretary of state for the future of work.

Jim McMahon has stepped down as shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, citing “a number of personal challenges in the last year”.

Steve Reed has been chosen to fill the departing McMahon’s position.

Shabana Mahmood, formerly Labour’s national campaign director, has become the shadow justice secretary – a post previously held by Reed.

Pat McFadden has become the shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the new national campaign coordinator.

Labour ministers fronting Keir Starmer’s “missions” have remained safe as the shuffling unfolded around them. These include: Rachel Reeves (economic growth), Wes Streeting (health), Bridget Phillipson (education), Yvette Cooper (home) and Ed Miliband (climate).

Among those receiving promotions have been Liz Kendall, now shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, and Darren Jones who becomes chief secretary to the Treasury.

Jones is highly rated, following his performances in his role as chair of parliament’s business committee.

Hilary Benn, a former cabinet minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, has rejoined the shadow cabinet as shadow Northern Ireland secretary.

He replaces Peter Kyle, who has become the shadow secretary of state for science, innovation and technology.

Elsewhere, Thangam Debbonaire has become Labour’s culture, media and sport spokesperson.

Debbonaire, formerly the shadow leader of the House of Commons, told Sky News this morning that Sir Keir Starmer needs the “right team” around him to take Labour into government.

Lucy Powell replaces Debbonaire as shadow leader of the commons.


13.10 pm — That’s it for Labour’s shadow cabinet reshuffle. See how the reshuffle transpired with our as-it-happened rolling coverage.


  • Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner handed levelling up, housing and communities brief (see 10.05 am).
  • Lisa Nandy, formerly at levelling up, has been demoted to cabinet-attending minister for international development (see 11.28 am).
  • Promotions for rising Labour right stars in Liz Kendall, now shadow secretary of state for work and pensions (see 12.01 pm), and Darren Jones who become chief secretary to the Treasury (see 12.26 pm).
  • Hillary Benn, former cabinet minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, returns to the frontbench as the shadow Northern Ireland secretary (see 12.33 pm).

Politics.co.uk’s live blog will be back tomorrow to bring you the latest.

12.49 pm — Lucy Powell and Thangam Debbonaire swap roles. The former is now the shadow leader of the commons – the latter becomes Labour’s culture spokesperson.

12.33 pm — Hillary Benn returns to the Labour frontbench.

12.27 pm — Nick Thomas-Symonds demoted from shadow international trade secretary to minister without portfolio.

12.26 pm — Darren Jones vaulted from business and trade select committee chair to shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.

12.25 pm — Peter Kyle, former shadow Northern Ireland secretary, handed the science brief.

12.20 pm — Thangam Debbonaire to culture, media and sport.

12.07 pm — Like Lisa Nandy, Jonathan Ashworth is no longer a shadow secretary of state.

12.02 pm — Rosena Allin-Khan out.

12.01 pm — Promotion for Liz Kendall.

11.56 am — McFadden becomes Shadow chancellor of the duchy and Lancaster and National Campaign Coordinator.

11.46 am — More movers:

11.28 am — Lisa Nandy, formerly levelling up, is now the cabinet-attending international development minister.

10.50 am — Angela Rayner handed levelling up.

10.31 am — In response to McMahon’s letter, Starmer says: “I understand the reasons for your decision.

“I know that you have faced a number of personal challenges in addition to your frontbench work and that these have taken a personal toll.

“MPs should never have to deal with abuse or violent threats, and I can appreciate how difficult this must have been for you and your family.

“You have always risen above this and remained focused on the principles that brought you into politics.”

10.23 am — Jim McMahon steps down as shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

His letter of resignation reads:

I have been and remain a firm supporter of you and the project we have built to offer Britain an electable Labour government after 13 wasted years under the Conservatives.

This has been a very difficult decision for me, but as we have discussed previously, I have faced a number of personal challenges in the last year coming back from serous illness.

The road to recovery has been testing and although I am better than I was, there is still some way to go. For the benefit of both my health and my family, the time is right to step back from the workload that comes with being in the Shadow Cabinet to enable me to contribute fully to the General Election campaign coming towards us and to serve my constituents in Oldham West and Royton.

9.35 am — The government has been accused of halving the number of schools that could be rebuilt in the 2021 spending review. This review was conducted during the period Rishi Sunak served as chancellor.

Former civil servant Jonathan Slater told the BBC that this was despite a recommendation from the Department for Education, where he served as the Permanent Secretary, to double the number to 200.

Read the full story.

8.50 am — Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow leader of the House of Commons, says Sir Keir Starmer needs the “right team” around him to take Labour into government.

Debbonaire told Sky News: “The country is in a serious mess and we’ve got so many problems ahead of us.

“I know that what Keir [Starmer] will have been focused on is choosing the top team that is going to help him to fulfil those five missions that he set out.

“Just today we’re talking about schools, one of the five missions is to make sure that no child is left behind, that we give every child the opportunity to thrive.”

Pressed on what position she might have by the end of the day, the shadow minister said: “I want to serve in whatever position Keir chooses to put me in, the Labour Party in my view is the single greatest party the world has ever known.

“I would like to serve in a Keir Starmer Labour cabinet if that’s what Keir would like.”

8.15 am — Good morning and welcome back to “Politics Live”, politics.co.uk‘s rolling coverage of the day’s key moments in Westminster and beyond. Here you can keep up to date with today’s major parliamentary debates, press conferences and news events in real time.

Here’s what’s happening today:

  • Barring a last minute change of plans from LOTO, a Labour shadow cabinet reshuffle is on the cards
  • MPs return from summer recess with a focus on crumbling concrete in schools, the education secretary is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons at 3pm

Stay with us and we’ll bring you all the latest developments as they unfold.