Starmer refuses to guarantee anybody a job in his new government

Sir Keir Starmer has refused to guarantee any of his top team a job in his new cabinet as Labour appears to be closing in on victory.

The Labour leader was pressed on the issue in his final broadcast interview with the BBC’s political editor Chris Mason as he toured the key battleground seats in the midlands.

Mr Mason pressed Sir Keir: “People deserve to know who might be running some of the big aspects of the state come Friday, if you are to win. Will the senior figures in your shadow cabinet to take those respective roles in government if you do win?

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

But Starmer ducked the question.

He said: “Chris, I'm not going to get ahead of myself and announce, say, cabinet or possible cabinet.”

Pushed further on his shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, he responded: “To do so two days before the election to do so would to be complacent. And you would never expect a leader to do that.

Pressed again on his top team, he added: “Well, I'm not going to run through a list of names however hard you try. But what I will say, because this is important, is that in each of the briefs in each of the departments we've been working on for years, on what needs to change how it needs to change how it needs to fit together, we want a purpose driven government, which will make material change for our country for the better.”

It is a stark contrast to the 1992 election when Neil Kinnock infamously introduced his next cabinet on the stage before polling day at a rally in Sheffield only to lose.

The answers come amid speculation that Sir Keir could make some dramatic changes to his cabinet from his current shadow cabinet team.

In particular, questions have been asked about David Lammy becoming foreign secretary with suggestions that former cabinet minister Douglas Smith, who is hoping to make a return to parliament as MP for East Lothian, could get the job instead.

Others are thought to be at risk even with a sizeable Labour victory with the Greens hoping to unseat shadow culture secretary Thangam Debbonaire in Bristol West and an independent candidate posing problems for Shabana Mahmood in Birmingham Ladywood.

There have also been calls from some on the left of the party for Wes Streeting to not get the role as health secretary because of his support of using the private sector to bring down waiting lists.

Sir Keir may also be looking for a new role for his campaign coordinator Pat McFadden who has been a major figure in the campaign.