BBC news: Laura Kuenssberg fears trouble for Starmer after Rayner left in dark – ‘Oh dear! | UK | News

A reorganisation of the opposition front benches got under way today amid reports Ms Rayner was left out of the loop. Sir Keir’s second-in-command said: “I don’t know the details of any reshuffle. I’ve been concentrating on the job I have been doing.”

The BBC’s political editor tweeted: “Oh dear…not entirely clear yet what is happening, but if Starmer is shuffling the pack and hadn’t kept Rayner informed that’s not going to be an easy conversation later.”

Ms Kuenssberg added: “Remember however sticky things get [between] Starmer and Rayner, her position [as] Deputy Leader is an elected position.”

Ms Rayner’s spokesperson has said she spoke to Sir Keir between a media round this morning and a speech at 11am, according to Aubrey Allegretti at The Guardian.

They said Ms Rayner was told there would be a reshuffle, but she was neither aware of how imminent it was nor consulted on the details.

Labour’s deputy was speaking at the Institute for Government about the party’s plans to clean up politics as news of the reshuffle broke, leading some to suggest it was an attempt to overshadow the speech.

Ms Kuenssberg later tweeted: “This is getting even more confusing and messy – hearing Rayner had been told about reshuffle and it’s timing before her speech and Q and A.”

Robert Peston, ITV’s political editor, said briefings from Ms Rayner that she had not been informed of the details have been denied by Sir Keir’s team.

He referred to a source as saying: “Keir met with Angela in person this morning after her media round and before she left for the speech to say that there would be a reshuffle today.”

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During her speech, Ms Rayner said Labour would enforce a complete five-year ban on ministers lobbying after they leave office.

She said if the party were in Government it would implement every recommendation on how to improve standards.

Ms Rayner added: “Never again will a prime minister and his ministers be able to break the rules with impunity because the rules are too weak.

“Power and control over the rules will be taken away from those the rules hold to account. It will be a Labour Government that makes our politics a force for good.”

The news comes as Cat Smith quit her role as Shadow Secretary of State for Young People.

One of the last supporters of Jeremy Corbyn in Sir Keir’s top team, the MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood warned of damage being caused to the party by Jeremy Corbyn not having been readmitted to the Parliamentary Labour Party after his return as a member.

She wrote: “This position is utterly unsustainable and it is important that you truly understand how much damage this is causing in Constituency Labour Parties and amongst ordinary members.”

In response, The Sun’s political editor, Harry Cole, tweeted: “First Corbynista out.. Cat Smith says she’s resigning and was fighting for JC to have whip reinstated.”

Michael Dugher, Labour’s former Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, commented: “What goes around…

“When I was asked by Corbyn to leave his shadow cabinet Cat told the media: ‘He is perfectly within his rights to do that. He is trying to realign his top team to match more what the PLP is & more what the party is’. I’m sure Keir is only trying to do the same.”

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