Keir’s Remoaner army takes over
Starmer steps out with his new top team If looks could kill... glare of deputy he kept in the dark
IT was a reshuffle already mired in confusion and controversy – with even Sir Keir Starmer’s deputy left in the dark.
Now the Labour leader has been accused of heading up a ‘hardcore’ Remain frontbench team after promoting prominent pro-Europeans.
One of his new top team even called on the country to ‘stop this madness’ and branded Brexit a ‘nightmare’ following the vote in 2016.
On Monday, Sir Keir made David Lammy his Shadow Foreign Secretary, even though he wanted Parliament to overturn the result of the referendum.
Yvette Cooper, the new Shadow Home Secretary, was a prominent Remain supporter – even though her Pontefract constituency voted Leave.
Bridget Phillipson, who gets the shadow education job, was one of the first Labour MPs to call for a ‘People’s
‘Campaigning for free movement’
Vote’ on the Brexit deal. Wes Streeting, who has been promoted to health spokesman, also supported this idea.
Rachel Reeves, who stayed in her role as Shadow Chancellor, backed Remain but her constituency – Leeds West – voted Leave.
Sir Keir, who was shadow Brexit secretary under Jeremy Corbyn, has claimed Labour will ‘make Brexit work’. However, he is known to be an ardent Remainer who was instrumental in pushing his Eurosceptic former leader into pledging a second referendum.
A Tory source said: ‘With this hardcore Remain Shadow Cabinet, it would be no surprise to see Labour calling for a second referendum again.
‘It seems the only one of his ten leadership pledges Starmer will actually keep to is campaigning for free movement with the EU.’ Just two days after the Brexit vote, Mr Lammy tweeted: ‘Wake up. We do not have to do this. We can stop this madness and bring this nightmare to an end through a vote in Parliament.
‘The referendum was an advisory, non-binding referendum. The Leave campaign’s platform has already unravelled and some people wish they hadn’t voted Leave.
‘Parliament needs to decide whether we should go forward with Brexit, and there should be a vote in Parliament next week. Let us not destroy our economy on the basis of the lies and hubris of Boris Johnson.’
He was also one of a number of Labour MPs who voted against the triggering of Article 50.
In July 2018, Mr Streeting said of then-prime minister Theresa May: ‘Her only way out is to take the decision to the British public and back a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.’
Yesterday Lisa Nandy, who will shadow Michael Gove in his levelling up department, denied Labour is moving to the Right of the political spectrum – saying it was instead targeting the North of the country.
Miss Nandy told Sky News: ‘We’re moving North. Left or Right, you can keep that debate. We’re going out into the country and we’re going to start delivering for people in towns, villages and cities that have been completely and utterly abandoned by the political system.
‘You go to Grimsby, you go to Barnsley, you go to Aberdeen, you will find proud communities that have a contribution to make. But so often they are held back, not by the skills of their young people, not by the abilities in those communities, not by their own ambition, but by a national Government that isn’t investing in the infrastructure that would bring good jobs.’
Yesterday, Sir Keir held the first meeting of his new Shadow Cabinet – with deputy leader Angela Rayner looking distinctly unimpressed.
Mrs Rayner admitted after a speech on Monday that she had not been aware of ‘the timing of’ his reshuffle.