Tuesday 11 May 2021


Behind closed doors Keir Starmer was clearly a busy man in the aftermath of Thursday's poll disaster.  He gave one very brief interview on Friday, refused to speak to reporters outside his home and his social media accounts went silent for four days.  The end result was an underwhelming and drawn out reshuffle, which despite media speculation to the contrary, left Ashworth and Nandy in place.  The only major change was Rachel Reeves replacing the non-entity Anneliese Dodds as shadow chancellor.

The Rayner debacle ended with her taking on three fairly obscure roles - shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, shadow minister for the Cabinet Office and a new position that Starmer has invented, the shadow secretary of state for the future of work.  It's difficult to see this as the 'significant promotion' Starmer loyalists had predicted, but more of a sideways shift to placate angry party activists.

Starmer broke his social media silence by retweeting some of the new faces - Rachel Reeves, Wes Streeting, Shabana Mahmood (replacing Rayner as national campaign co-ordinator), Thangam Debbonaire, Lucy Powell and Angela Rayner herself.  Then, just before noon yesterday, he finallly acknowledged Labour's success in Wales - two days after counting was complete and two days after Jeremy Corbyn had publicly congratulated his friend Mark Drakeford.

Starmer followed up with a string of congratulatory tweets (better late than never) at intermittent intervals throughout the day.  They were as follows:

Dan Norris (new West of England mayor) at 12:38
Tracy Brabin (new West Yorkshire mayor) at 14:00
Marvin Rees (re-elected Bristol mayor) at 14:45
Sadiq Khan at 15:20
Andy Burnham at 16:25
Nik Johnson (new Peterborough and Cambridgeshire mayor) at 18:42
Paul Dennett (re-elected Salford mayor) at 19:29
Cambridge Labour (have no idea why he singled them out, they merely held control of the council with an increased majority of one seat) at 19:54
Steve Rotherham/Joanne Anderson/Emily Spurrell (Liverpool metro mayor/city mayor/pcc) at 20:33

How odd there was no congratulations for Anas Sarwar on Scottish Labour's magnificent third place finish (and the worst ever performance by Labour in Scotland, despite the mainstream media having beefed him up as the saviour of Scottish Labour and Unionism).  Never mind Anas.