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Rachel Reeves promoted to shadow chancellor in Labour reshuffle

Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves - Credit: PA

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has sacked his shadow chancellor and chief whip as part of an overhaul in the wake of the party’s poor performance in the local elections.

Rachel Reeves has been promoted to shadow chancellor as part of Sir Keir’s reshuffle of his “refreshed and renewed” top team, with former incumbent Anneliese Dodds relegated to party chairman.

Deputy leader Angela Rayner, fired as party chairman and elections co-ordinator on Saturday following Labour’s shock Hartlepool by-election defeat, will take Reeves’ former post as shadow chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster.

Birmingham Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood comes in as national campaign co-ordinator.

Rayner has also been given other responsibilities in the reshuffle, with Labour confirming she will be shadow first secretary of state, while also having a “future of work” brief.

As part of the firing and hiring, Nick Brown has been replaced as shadow chief whip by Alan Campbell, while Thangam Debbonaire has been moved to shadow Commons leader.

The decision to dismiss Brown, who had served in government as Gordon Brown’s chief whip before taking the shadow equivalent job under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, was criticised by a Labour grandee.

Debbonaire replaces Valerie Vaz, who was ousted from the shadow cabinet as part of the shake-up, with Lucy Powell taking the shadow housing secretary post.

Announcing his shadow cabinet reshuffle, Starmer said: “The Labour Party must be the party that embraces the demand for change across our country.

“That will require bold ideas and a relentless focus on the priorities of the British people.

“Just as the pandemic has changed what is possible and what is necessary, so Labour must change too.

“In the last 24 hours we have seen fantastic results for Labour metro mayors, as well as the Labour government in Wales under Mark Drakeford.

“They have shown the difference Labour can make in power, standing up for their communities.”

He added: “We have seen Labour begin to turn around its fortunes in Scotland under the leadership of Anas Sarwar.

“These results give us optimism and inspiration for the future.

“The challenge for us now is to build upon these successes and learn from the places we lost.

“I look forward to working with our refreshed and renewed team to take on that challenge, deliver that change and build the ambitious programme that will deliver the next Labour government.”