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Keir Starmer launches Labour reshuffle as frontbencher Cat Smith quits

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Sir Keir Starmer has launched a shake-up of the Labour shadow cabinet without consulting Angela Rayner on planned changes, the deputy leader’s spokesperson has said.

Details of the reshuffle emerged as frontbencher Cat Smith announced her resignation on Twitter after taking a call from Sir Keir regarding his plans on Monday morning.

The MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, shadow minister for democracy, said she had been invited to carry on in her role – but decided to step down to focus “on my Lancashire constituency”.

Outlining issues on which she clashed with Sir Keir, Ms Smith said the failure to reinstate former leader Jeremy Corbyn – who currently sits as an independent – as a Labour MP was “unsustainable”.

Ms Rayner appeared to be caught unaware of changes, telling reporters she did not know any reshuffle details at the end of a major speech on standards.

“I don’t know the details of any reshuffle – I’ve been concentrating on the job that I’m doing”, she said as she used her speech to highlight claims of sleaze in the Conservatives.

Labour confirmed to The Independent that a reshuffle was under way on Monday, with an announcement expected once the changes to Sir Keir’s team have been confirmed.

The Independent understands that the deputy leader was blindsided by the details of the changes, despite the fact that Sir Keir and Ms Rayner had a short conversation before her speech.

A spokesperson for Ms Rayner said: “Keir and Angela had a short conversion in between media round and her speech. I’m not aware of the contents of that conversation, but she was not aware of the details of the reshuffle and she was not consulted on the reshuffle — as she said herself.”

Questioned on whether the timing of the reshuffle had overshadowed her speech, the spokesperson added: “Angela’s absolutely dedicated to exposing corruption in this government – that’s what she’s been working on the last few months and setting out Labour’s alternative.”

In her resignation letter, Ms Smith also expressed her disappointment Labour had not adopted a clear position on proportional representation, which she suggested would to be “fundamentally fairer” electoral system.



Sir Keir Starmer has launched a shake-up of the Labour shadow cabinet without consulting Angela Rayner on planned changes, the deputy leader’s spokesperson has said.

Details of the reshuffle emerged as frontbencher Cat Smith announced her resignation on Twitter after taking a call from Sir Keir regarding his plans on Monday morning.

The MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, shadow minister for democracy, said she had been invited to carry on in her role – but decided to step down to focus “on my Lancashire constituency”.

Outlining issues on which she clashed with Sir Keir, Ms Smith said the failure to reinstate former leader Jeremy Corbyn – who currently sits as an independent – as a Labour MP was “unsustainable”.

Ms Rayner appeared to be caught unaware of changes, telling reporters she did not know any reshuffle details at the end of a major speech on standards.

“I don’t know the details of any reshuffle – I’ve been concentrating on the job that I’m doing”, she said as she used her speech to highlight claims of sleaze in the Conservatives.

Labour confirmed to The Independent that a reshuffle was under way on Monday, with an announcement expected once the changes to Sir Keir’s team have been confirmed.

The Independent understands that the deputy leader was blindsided by the details of the changes, despite the fact that Sir Keir and Ms Rayner had a short conversation before her speech.

A spokesperson for Ms Rayner said: “Keir and Angela had a short conversion in between media round and her speech. I’m not aware of the contents of that conversation, but she was not aware of the details of the reshuffle and she was not consulted on the reshuffle — as she said herself.”

Questioned on whether the timing of the reshuffle had overshadowed her speech, the spokesperson added: “Angela’s absolutely dedicated to exposing corruption in this government – that’s what she’s been working on the last few months and setting out Labour’s alternative.”

In her resignation letter, Ms Smith also expressed her disappointment Labour had not adopted a clear position on proportional representation, which she suggested would to be “fundamentally fairer” electoral system.

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