Trade union dispute as two Asian women in shadow cabinet lose advisers | Workforce
Labor is embroiled in an advisers feud as it emerged two Asian women in the new shadow cabinet will no longer have their own personal assistants.
Keir Starmer redesigned a lean shadow cabinet last week to make roles more representative of the current cabinet. Labor has said it will also mean fewer political advisers as the party grapples with precarious finances.
Two senior shadow ministers – Rosena Allin-Khan, shadow minister of mental health, and shadow secretary for international development, Preet Gill – have been told they must now independently fundraise for their advisers.
Although Gill’s equivalent role in the cabinet was abolished when the government merged the department with the Foreign Office, Gill would still have to attend shadow cabinet meetings.
Allin-Khan, a practicing A&E doctor, will also lose his advisor. She will retain her leading role in mental health under the leadership of new Phantom Health Secretary Wes Streeting. Both declined to comment.
One MP said it was “embarrassing that two of the party’s most prominent women had to fight to try and get support to do their jobs.”
A Labor source said: ‘The Labor Party is reorganizing itself to prepare to fight for an election. Decisions are made based on electoral priorities.
The source said the couple were not specifically targeted for another reason and all shadow ministers would have access to the resources.
Starmer’s reshuffle, which has been well received across much of the party for appointments such as Yvette Cooper as Ghost Inside Secretary and Lisa Nandy at the top level, also shed new light on its divisions with the Deputy Chief, Angela Rayner.
Over the weekend, the Labor Party suspended Rayner’s communications director, Jack McKenna, for a tweet since deleted by a reporter, although the party said there was no presumption of guilt. McKenna consults with his union.
McKenna, a senior adviser who worked under Jeremy Corbyn in the office of the former Labor leader, has been closely involved in Rayner’s high-profile campaign to uncover Tory cronyism, but told friends he had been hit hard by the abuse and threats Rayner received during their time together.
A Rayner ally suggested that relations between her team and the leader’s office had been considerably patched up by the end of the week, and that she had been involved in discussions about the most junior positions in the reshuffle.
Another shadow cabinet minister said Rayner “has to decide whether she’s going to be a Tom Watson or a John Prescott” – a reference to Corbyn’s deputy who was a thorn in his side, or Tony Blair’s deputy who had political differences but remained loyal and protective.
Speaking to The Times last week, Starmer hinted that the dispute was not about the personal animosity between the two. “There’s no personal issue between me and Angela. We’re friends, we get along, we talk a lot. We bring different things to the table. We both make each other stronger. She’s politically astute and invaluable to me. as a deputy.