The new cabinet: Who is in Sir Keir Starmer's top team (2024)

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has announced much of his new cabinet - hours after taking power in a landslide victory.

Here's who the new prime minister has appointed:

Angela Rayner

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Ms Rayner has been Sir Keir Starmer's deputy since he was elected Labour leader in 2020.

She also becomes levelling up secretary - a shadow brief that she also held.

Born and raised on a council estate in Stockport, Greater Manchester, she had her first child at the age of 16, crediting New Labour's Sure Start policy with ensuring her life "wasn't written off".

She worked as a carer and then a trade union leader before entering party politics.

Earlier this year she faced questions over the sale of her council house but police and tax authorities confirmed there had been no wrongdoing.

Read more about her here

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Rachel Reeves

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Ms Reeves worked for the Bank of England and then HBOS before entering the Commons in 2010.

As a teenager growing up in Lewisham, south London, she won the British under-14 chess championship before going to study at Oxford.

She says she turned down a job at Goldman Sachs, despite the fact it would have made her "much richer".

Ms Reeves took over as shadow chancellor in May 2021 and along with Sir Keir has helped reshape Labour's relationship with the business community and has stressed the importance of fiscal discipline. Her younger sister Ellie Reeves is also a Labour MP.

Read more here

Yvette Cooper

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Ms Cooper and her husband Ed Balls are both veterans of New Labour - having had various ministerial roles under Sir Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Ms Cooper's experience included chief secretary to the Treasury, work and pensions secretary, as well as health, and housing minister. While at the Department of Health she was the first minister in the UK to ever take maternity leave.

She ran for the Labour leadership against Jeremy Corbyn in 2016, coming third to Corbyn and Andy Burnham.

Read more about her here

David Lammy

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Mr Lammy has represented Tottenham, where he grew up, since 2000 when he won the by-election triggered by the death of Labour's Bernie Grant.

He was the first black Briton to attend Harvard Law School, where he met and befriended Barack Obama.

Under New Labour he served as minister for higher education and culture. By contrast, he endorsed his friend Jeremy Corbyn for the party leadership in 2016.

Mr Lammy has written widely about the 2011 London riots, which began in his constituency. He has also condemned Oxford University for not accepting enough black and ethnic minority students.

Read more about him here.

Pat McFadden

A veteran of the Blair years, Mr McFadden has emerged as a key figure in Sir Keir's inner circle. As Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster he will take a co-ordinating role at the centre of government and will have responsibility for making key decisions.

He is one of the few members of the new cabinet that has experience serving in government - under Gordon Brown he served as parliamentary under-secretary at the Cabinet Office and later as a minister in the business department.

Shabana Mahmood

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Ms Mahmood became the first female Muslim in the House of Commons when she was elected in 2010.

She was born in her Birmingham constituency, where her father later became chairman of the local Labour Party. The family spent her first seven years in Saudi Arabia while he worked as a civil engineer, however.

She didn't leave Labour when Sir Tony Blair backed the invasion of Iraq, instead running to replace her local MP when she did. She has spoken widely about Sir Keir Starmer's perceived shortcomings on the situation in Gaza.

Wes Streeting

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Wes Streeting was elected to the marginal seat of Ilford North with just 589 votes in 2015, having served as deputy leader of the local council beforehand.

He was raised on a council estate in London's East End. His maternal grandparents both spent time in prison, his grandmother frequenting Christine Keeler while behind bars.

Mr Streeting was a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn and has received criticism for some of his policies on the NHS, which he credits with saving his life after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Read more about him here.

Bridget Phillipson

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Ms Phillipson was brought up on a council estate in the North East of England, where she said in an interview she was "bullied for being poor".

After her mother enrolled her in Saturday drama school, she got a background role in BBC children's show Byker Grove.

Before going into politics, she managed the women's refuge that her mother set up while she was at school.

Elected in 2010, she became shadow education secretary the following year, promoting a wider rollout of school breakfast clubs and hoping to "break the class ceiling" for young people through education.

Read more about her here.

Ed Miliband

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Mr Miliband has been the MP for Doncaster North since 2005 and has played a big role in Labour politics.

He was a special adviser to Gordon Brown while he was chancellor while his brother, David, worked for Sir Tony.

In 2010 he was elected Labour leader in a fractious contest with his brother. He stayed on until 2015 and resigned following the party's general election defeat that year.

He is said to have a close personal relationship with Sir Keir, whom he helped with his campaign to become an MP back in 2015.

Peter Kyle

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Peter Kyle overcame struggles with severe dyslexia to return to school at the age of 25 and ultimately get a PhD in community economic development.

He was chair of the business, energy and industrial strategy select committee and part of the public inquiries into the collapse of Carillion and Thomas Cook.

Before politics he worked as an aid worker in the Balkans, setting up an orphanage in Romania, and working as a cabinet office adviser on social exclusion on his return to the UK.

In 2012 his long-term partner and his mother died one day apart from each other.

Louise Haigh

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Louise Haigh has been an MP where she grew up in Sheffield since 2015.

Both her grandfather and uncle were trade union officials.

She worked in parliament as a coordinator while volunteering as a special constable with the Met Police in Brixton, south London, before becoming an MP.

This set her up for being shadow policing minister under Jeremy Corbyn.

Although she endorsed the former Labour leader she now says she regrets the decision, backing Andy Burnham, Lisa Nandy, and Jess Phillips for successive leadership bids.

Liz Kendall

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Liz Kendall came last in the Labour leadership contest that saw Jeremy Corbyn elected in 2015.

Before she entered parliament five years earlier, she worked for various think tanks and charities with a focus on health and social care, including the Ambulance Service Network and Maternity Alliance.

She ventured in and out of politics advising former caretaker Labour leader Harriet Harman and former health secretary Patricia Hewitt.

In the shadow cabinet under Sir Keir she has had the health and social care and pensions brief.

Outside of politics she dated comedian Greg Davies.

Jonathan Reynolds

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Jonathan Reynolds' political career began as an assistant to a Labour councillor in Stockport.

Although he had aspirations of becoming a lawyer, they were put on hold when he became a father in his early 20s.

After stints as a councillor and a parliamentary assistant he ran successfully to replace his boss James Purnell MP when he announced he was stepping down.

He has two dogs named Kennedy and Clinton and employs his wife as a senior parliamentary assistant.

John Healey

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Another veteran of the Blair years, John Healey became parliamentary under-secretary of state for adult skills as soon as he was elected as an MP in 1997.

His father received an OBE for his lifelong work countering violence and aggression.

Throughout New Labour he was financial secretary to the treasury, minister for local government, and for housing.

He voted in favour of UK involvement in the Iraq War and has visited Ukraine, where he promised Labour's commitment would be "ironclad". He has matched the previous government's commitment to raise defence spending from just over 2% of GDP to 2.5% by 2030.

Steve Reed

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Steve Reed, the former leader of Lambeth council, was elected to parliament in the by-election in 2012 for Croydon North, which was changed to Streatham and Croydon North at this election.

He has held a number of shadow cabinet roles, including as shadow levelling up secretary and shadow justice secretary, before he was appointed shadow environment secretary - a role he now holds in cabinet.

Lisa Nandy

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Lisa Nandy was re-elected as the MP for Wigan, a constituency she has represented since 2010.

Ms Nandy ran against Sir Keir in the Labour leadership contest that took place after Jeremy Corbyn quit following the disastrous 2019 general election defeat.

She has held a number of shadow cabinet roles, including as shadow international development secretary and shadow foreign secretary.

Ms Nandy has now been appointed as shadow culture secretary, replacing Thangam Debbonaire who lost the seat of Bristol Central to the Greens.

Hilary Benn

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Hilary Benn is the son of the late left-wing minister and campaigner Tony Benn, who served under prime ministers Harold Wilson and James Callaghan.

On his by-election campaign trail he famously set himself apart from his father, describing himself as a "Benn not a Bennite".

His role as Northern Ireland secretary comes after a stint as chair of the Commons Brexit committee where he was heavily involved in the UK withdrawal and ensuing border issues in Ireland.

He also has previous experience as a cabinet minister, first entering under Blair as international development secretary in 2003.

Ian Murray

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Ian Murray was brought up on a council estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh. He accredits the "failures" of his local MP, Thatcherite minister Malcolm Rifkind, to act on damp in his childhood home with motivating him to get into politics.

After serving on Edinburgh Council, he was elected as MP for Edinburgh South in 2010 following his predecessor Nigel Griffith's downfall in a sex scandal.

He was among the Labour MPs who resigned from the shadow cabinet after the Brexit referendum and was an ardent critic of Jeremy Corbyn.

Describing himself as a "lifelong" opponent of the Trident nuclear programme, he may struggle to fall in line with Sir Keir Starmer's commitment to maintain it.

He voted for Scotland to remain as part of the UK in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and reported "hostilities" from the 'yes' campaign.

Jo Stevens

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Jo Stevens served as shadow Wales secretary under both Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Keir Starmer.

Her resignation under Corbyn came after he imposed a three-line whip on backing the government's EU withdrawal bill, which she said she could not comply with as a "passionate European".

She is largely a unionist and against devolution of issues such as policing and gender recognition.

Before the election campaign, her office was vandalised after she abstained from the motion on a ceasefire in Gaza.

Lucy Powell

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Lucy Powell became the first female MP to represent a Manchester constituency when she was elected in the by-election for Manchester Central in 2012.

She takes on the role of leader of the Commons, where she is responsible for delivering Sir Keir's legislative agenda in the Commons and keeping MPs updated about forthcoming business and debate in the Commons Chamber.

Previous roles she has held include shadow education secretary under Jeremy Corbyn and as shadow culture secretary under Sir Keir.

Darren Jones

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He has only been in parliament since 2017, but Darren Jones has been widely touted as one of Labour's rising stars.

Born and bred in his Bristol constituency, he worked in the NHS before training as a lawyer.

He made an unsuccessful bid at parliament in 2010, becoming an active union member instead.

On social media during the campaign he's gained traction for his "candid" posts about life in politics. A leaked recording revealed him saying Labour's net-zero plans would cost "hundreds of billions", forcing the party to make clarifications.

Outside of his day job he's a keen vegan cook and plays the saxophone.

Sir Alan Campbell

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Sir Alan Campbell is a Labour stalwart who was first elected in 1997 for the constituency of Tynemouth.

He also has experience in government, having served as a minister in the Home Office under Mr Brown.

He retains his role of chief whip, meaning he is responsible for party discipline and the whipping system - ensuring that MPs attend votes and vote in line with the leadership.

Richard Hermer KC

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Richard Hermer is a high-profile human rights lawyer from Matrix Chambers.

He assumes the role of attorney general, the chief legal adviser to the government.

He replaces Emily Thornberry, who had held the role since November 2021.

The role had been expected to go to Emily Thornberry, who has served as shadow attorney general since 2021.

Ms Thornberry was criticised by the Tories during the election campaign for claiming the policy of ending tax breaks for private schools would mean bigger classes in state schools.

Mr Hermer is not an MP, so he will be made a peer in the House of Lords in order to serve his role.

Baroness Smith of Basildon

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Baroness Smith was the MP for Basildon from 1997 and 2010 and served as parliamentary private secretary to Mr Brown when he was prime minister.

She lost her seat, then renamed South Basildon and East Thurrock, to the Conservatives in 2010 but was appointed to the House of Lords shortly afterwards.

From 2015 she served as leader of the Opposition in the Lords - a role that will be transferred to the government equivalent.

As House of Lords leader Baroness Smith will lead the government benches in the upper chamber and be responsible for government business.

The new cabinet: Who is in Sir Keir Starmer's top team (2024)
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