LONDON — The U.K.’s opposition leader conducted a major reshuffle of his top team Monday, replacing key shadow ministers in the home, foreign and international trade briefs.
Yvette Cooper, who was first a minister under Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, will shadow Home Secretary Priti Patel, while David Lammy becomes shadow foreign secretary.
Nick Thomas-Symonds takes over from Emily Thornberry in the trade brief, while Ed Miliband takes on a new role dedicated to climate change.
Speaking about the significance of his appointments, party leader Keir Starmer — who backed Remain in Britain’s 2016 EU referendum — said a “Make Brexit Work” promise was “a huge part of my agenda” and which would be led by Thomas-Symonds, while Miliband would focus on “the most important issue facing this country.”
Lisa Nandy, formerly shadow foreign secretary, will now go toe-to-toe with Michael Gove in his work at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Other key appointments include Jonathan Reynolds as shadow business secretary; Lucy Powell as shadow culture secretary; Bridget Phillipson as shadow education secretary; Jim McMahon as shadow environment secretary; Wes Streeting as shadow health secretary; and Jonathan Ashworth as shadow work and pensions secretary.
Louise Haigh will become shadow transport secretary, replaced in her Northern Ireland job by Peter Kyle.
Starmer said the reshuffle delivered “a smaller, more focused shadow cabinet” which is “focused on the priorities of the country.”
Yet the reorganization played out against signs of discord between Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner, whose spokesperson said she had not been consulted ahead of the changes.
She was informed at a relatively late stage, ahead of a significant speech on her plans to overhaul parliamentary standards, a move some interpreted as a hostile move by Starmer.