Lisa Nandy defends Keir Starmer over Labour reshuffle

Allies of Angela Rayner ‘doubt rift with Keir Starmer can be healed’ after she was blindsided by shadow cabinet reshuffle as Lisa Nandy says it does not matter ‘who knew and who didn’t’ because ‘the gaffer picks the team’

  • Labour leader Keir Starmer conducted reshuffle of his shadow cabinet yesterday
  • Sir Keir blindsided his deputy Angela Rayner who was not expecting shake-up
  • Allies of Ms Rayner have questioned whether rift with Sir Keir can be repaired
  • Lisa Nandy defended the Labour leader as she said ‘the gaffer picks the team’

Allies of Angela Rayner doubt a rift with Sir Keir Starmer can be repaired after the Labour leader blindsided his deputy with his shadow cabinet reshuffle yesterday.

Reports suggest that Ms Rayner found out about the shake-up just over an hour before she was due to deliver a major speech on Westminster sleaze. 

Initial details of the changes to Sir Keir’s top team then started to emerge as Ms Rayner spoke. 

Politico reported that Ms Rayner told friends last night that she was surprised by Sir Keir’s actions.

Allies of Angela Rayner doubt a rift with Sir Keir Starmer can be repaired after the Labour leader blindsided his deputy with his shadow cabinet reshuffle yesterday

Reports suggest that Ms Rayner found out about the shake-up just over an hour before she was due to deliver a major speech on Westminster sleaze

She was said to have believed that relations had improved since Sir Keir tried to demote her at his first botched reshuffle in May this year.

Her allies are now reportedly questioning whether the pair will ever be able to heal the rift between them. 

It came as Lisa Nandy said she ‘couldn’t care less’ about ‘who knew, who didn’t’ as she insisted ‘the leader makes the decisions, the gaffer picks the team’. 

Sir Keir’s wide-ranging reshuffle saw a return to the frontbench for Yvette Cooper who replaced Nick Thomas-Symonds as shadow home secretary. 

He also also handed big promotions to two of Labour’s rising stars, Bridget Phillipson and Wes Streeting, who are taking on the roles of shadow education secretary and shadow health secretary.

Jonathan Ashworth, who has had the health brief through the pandemic, has been moved to shadow work and pensions secretary.

Ms Nandy was replaced as shadow foreign secretary by David Lammy. She was moved to face off against Michael Gove as shadow secretary for levelling up and communities.  

Ms Nandy was asked on BBC Breakfast about the situation with Ms Rayner not knowing about the reshuffle and she replied: ‘Well, I haven’t spoken to Angela since the reshuffle happened. 

Politico reported that Ms Rayner told friends last night that she was surprised by Sir Keir’s actions

Lisa Nandy said she ‘couldn’t care less’ about ‘who knew, who didn’t’ as she insisted ‘the leader makes the decisions, the gaffer picks the team’

‘I have been busy getting a team together and getting a plan together so that we can get out into the country and listen to communities who want to rebuild their towns and villages.

‘But I have been through a lot of reshuffles over the last 11 years. I think the leader makes the decisions, the gaffer picks the team. That is how it goes and that is how it has always gone.

‘And frankly I couldn’t really care less about the circus around who is in, who is out, who is up, who is down, who knew, who didn’t.’

Told that there appeared to be significant cracks between Sir Keir and Ms Rayner, Ms Nandy replied: ‘I don’t think there is significant cracks in the Labour Party at all and I don’t think for one moment that people are talking about this across the country.’

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