Starmer continues troubled reshuffle of Labour frontbench

·1-min read

Sir Keir Starmer has continued the troubled reshuffle of his team in the wake of Labour’s electoral losses, replacing two frontbenchers who stood down amid controversies.

The Labour leader appointed Jeff Smith as shadow local government minister on Friday to replace Kate Hollern, who was accused of intimidation over a parliamentary worker’s allegations of sexual harassment.

Ms Hollern apologised after being accused of making “malicious” remarks designed to “scare” off a Tory from helping the women who levelled allegations against a Labour MP.

Coronavirus – Tue Jun 2, 2020
Kate Hollern, Labour MP for Blackburn (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Meanwhile, Sharon Hodgson was appointed as his new parliamentary private secretary on Friday after her predecessor stood down amid suggestions she spread rumours about deputy leader Angela Rayner.

Peter Kyle was appointed shadow minister for schools, Olivia Blake will cover nature, Seema Malhotra business and consumers, and Anna McMorrin victims.

Stephanie Peacock was moved to cover veterans, and Bambos Charalambous became shadow minister for immigration.

Sir Keir started a reshuffle last weekend after suffering significant losses in local elections in England as well as the Hartlepool by-election.

But it was thrown into chaos when he made a botched attempt to sack Ms Rayner from her role as national campaign coordinator.

In the face of widespread criticism, he ended up promoting Ms Rayner to a prominent role shadowing senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove.

Carolyn Harris stepped down as parliamentary private secretary amid reports that she was involved in a bitter briefing war between the Labour leader’s office and Ms Rayner.

The MP for Swansea East, who is also deputy leader of Welsh Labour, spread “baseless rumours” about Ms Rayner, according to the Times.

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