Starmer under fire for appointing ‘anti-Brexit and anti-borders control’ Shadow Home Sec

Keir Starmer ‘overshadowed’ Angela Rayner says Adam Boulton

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It was announced on Monday that several top positions in the opposition party had been switched around, including the appointment of veteran Labour MP Yvette Cooper as Shadow Home Secretary. Ms Cooper has been a Labour MP since 1997, and is the new counterbalance of Home Secretary Priti Patel. Ms Cooper had previously secured the job as Shadow Home Secretary between 2011 and 2015.

She replaces Nick Thomas-Symonds, who had an eighteenth-month stint in the job and will be the new Shadow Secretary for International Trade.

Mr Thomas-Symonds challenged Ms Patel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson particularly over the deaths of people attempting to make the Channel crossing from Calais.

He called the situation “humiliating” for Ms Patel and Mr Johnson, adding they “have completely lost control of the situation in the Channel”.

Ms Cooper, agreeing, has been a vocal critic of Ms Patel’s handling of the crisis, revealing last week that drone patrols monitoring Channel crossings are deployed only five days a week.

Conservative political commentator Darren Grimes posted on Twitter, reacting to the news.

He wrote: “Ha. Labour are proposing to make a politician that’s both anti-Brexit and anti-border controls Home Secretary. Good luck selling that one chaps!”

Ms Patel’s comments in the wake of the investigations of the Home Affairs Committee into Channel migration, led by Ms Cooper, highlight convictions opposite to those mentioned by Mr Grimes.

Ms Patel said: “When it comes to stopping the crossings other countries have to do much more in terms of border protection and this is the point.

“Schengen is free movement, Schengen is open borders, they do not have border controls and border checks.”

The reshuffle sees many of Labour’s top jobs redistributed, and came the same day as deputy leader, Angela Rayner, was giving a speech to the media.

She was, however, not made aware of the reshuffle, until she was faced with reporters on Monday morning.

She was asked to comment on the shadow cabinet rejig, of which she knew nothing.

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Speaking to the BBC, Labour frontbencher Lisa Nandy commented on Ms Rayner not being briefed on the reshuffle, saying: “The gaffer picks the team, that’s how it goes and that’s how it has always gone… frankly, I couldn’t care less about the circus of who’s in, and who’s out, who’s up, who’s down, who knew, who didn’t.”

In the reshuffle, Ms Nandy has been replaced as Shadow Foreign Secretary by Tottenham MP David Lammy.

She will take up the mantle of shadowing Michael Gove as Secretary of State for Levelling Up.

Sir Keir said: “I’m particularly delighted that Lisa Nandy will take on the vital role of shadowing Michael Gove and leading on the levelling up agenda.”

He added: “After 11 years of Conservative mismanagement of our economy, delivering prosperity to all regions and nations in the UK will be a defining mission of the next Labour government, and there will be nobody better than Lisa to lead this work.”

Jonathan Ashworth, former Shadow Health Secretary, becomes Thérèse Coffey’s counterpart as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

The new shadow cabinet is expected to meet on Tuesday.

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