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Labour reshuffle: Keir Starmer's new shadow cabinet branded 'Blairism on steroids'

There are places in Keir Starmer's shadow cabinet for MPs sacked by Jeremy Corbyn

Labour reshuffle

Keir Starmer's latest reshuffle has been branded "Blairism on steroids". Here's what you need to know about the new faces. Images: UK Parliament official portraits

Just when you thought the transfer window was shut, Keir Starmer has been busy moving and grooving with a fresh Labour reshuffle.

Starmer’s new top team has been branded “Blairism on steroids” by SNP MP David Linden. It’s a solid idea of what a Starmer government might look like.

While Starmer’s top team remain in place, the moves cement the party’s change in direction, with places for those sacked by Jeremy Corbyn, and five MPs who were in Tony Blair’s government

So, in the wake of the reshuffle, let’s meet Keir Starmer’s new-look Labour frontbench.

Liz Kendall: Shadow work and pensions secretary

Kendall was the only candidate for the Labour leadership in 2015 to support Conservative benefit cuts. She was in favour of the benefit cap remaining at £20,000 outside London.

She is now shadow work and pensions secretary, tasked with challenging the Conservatives over a department accused of running a disability benefits system setting people up to fail.

The Big Issue has been reporting on the experiences of those up against this disability benefits system – you can read more of our coverage here.

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Steve Reed: Shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs

In 2020, Reed apologised for a tweet calling Jewish Conservative donor Richard Desmond a “puppet master”.

He deleted the tweet and retained his spot in Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet, despite being accused of employing “an age old antisemitic trope”.

Reed previously served as shadow secretary of state for justice, and floated the idea of a Labour government ‘naming and shaming’ those convicted of buying drugs.

He has now been moved to the environment, food, and rural affairs brief by Starmer.

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Pat McFadden: Shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and national campaign coordinator

Before becoming an MP, McFadden served as Tony Blair’s political secretary. After being elected in 2005, he served in both Blair and Brown’s cabinets, and backed Liz Kendall as Labour leader. 

Jeremy Corbyn sacked McFadden from the post of shadow minister for Europe for “disloyalty”, which prompted other members of the shadow cabinet to resign. Reappointed to the shadow cabinet by Starmer, he has now been given the posts of shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and national campaign coordinator as Labour looks towards next year’s election.

Hilary Benn: Shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland

Also sacked by Jeremy Corbyn, Hilary Benn is back in the shadow cabinet. Son of Tony Benn, the MP for Leeds Central is remembered for his speech in favour of air strikes in Syria, and served as secretary of state for international development in Tony Blair’s government.

Ellie Reeves: Deputy national campaign coordinator

The former employment rights lawyer is the sister of shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves and is married to fellow Labour MP John Cryer.

A critic of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, Reeves served on Labour’s governing National Executive Committee until she was defeated by Momentum, the grassroots faction which formed much of Corbyn’s power-base.

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