Broke Birmingham, more reshuffling and Labour lettuce ads all in the spotlight

Morgan Jones
Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.

The bulk of Keir Starmer’s reshuffle may have wrapped up on Monday, but we’re now getting further batches of more junior frontbench appointments.

12 new appointments to frontbench

In the last few minutes, Jessica Morden has become shadow minister for Wales, Stephen Morgan shadow rail minister after losing his schools brief last night, Fleur Anderson shadow Northern Ireland minister, and Chris Bryant shadow minister for creative industries and digital. Morden also becomes parliamentary private secretary to Keir Starmer.

Meanwhile Preet Gill – stripped of her aid brief on Monday to make way for Lisa Nandy – has become shadow minister for primary care and public health, Andrew Gwynne shadow social care minister, Rushanara Ali shadow minister for investment, Karin Smyth shadow health minister, and Tan Dhesi shadow exchequer secretary to the Treasury.

Yesterday, Sarah Jones moves from the policing beat to the new post of shadow minister for industry and decarbonisation, while Abena Oppong-Asare, previously shadow exchequer secretary to the treasury, became shadow minister for women’s health and mental health, and Alex Norris moved to the shadow policing minister role. Former soldier Dan Jarvis came in as Shadow Security Minister and Seema Malhotra as shadow skills minister.

The final appointment yesterday was for Catherine McKinnell, notably replacing Morgan with the prominent schools brief. Given headlines are still dominated by RAAC, the North Tyne MP will have to hit the ground running, although it will be Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson leading an opposition day debate on the faulty concrete later today, pushing for the Department for Education to reveal internal correspondence over buildings. I am sure she’ll do a f***ing good job. Gillian Keegan is still in post as her opposite number.

Birmingham Labour in trouble

© ALLYOU Grzegorz Wasowicz/

Out of Westminster, Labour-run Birmingham council has signed a 114 notice, effectively declaring bankruptcy. The council has struggled following 13 years of Tory austerity, as Starmer highlights today, but a crucial factor was equal pay claims, which could top £1bn – equalling the budgetary impact of austerity. Jonathan Carr-West of the Local Government Information Unit called the largest local authority’s near-bankruptcy a “sobering moment”. The council experienced a not entirely harmonious change of leadership earlier this year, with Labour officials nationally intervening over allegations of a “dysfunctional climate”.

A spokesperson for the GMB, which is pursuing the equal pay claim, called the announcement a “humiliating admission of failure”, adding: “For decades the Council has stolen wages from its low-paid women workers, running up a huge equal pay liability that has brought Birmingham to the brink.” We can generally expect to see more situations like this as equal pay claims press already stretched local authorities, on top of soaring inflation and years of austerity.

Such cases can prove particularly thorny for Labour locally and nationally when they pit Labour-run councils against Labour-affiliated unions, with the Tories already point-scoring over Labour’s Birmingham woes, seeming tensions over a Canterbury bin strike, and Unite demanding Labour back Coventry refuse workers last year.

Lettuce smash the Tories’ record on inflation

In lighter news, the Labour Party’s social media team is on quite the streak, with a fun Jaws parody yesterday and, today, the revival of everyone’s favourite side character from British politics in 2022: the Liz Truss lettuce.

It would cost 20% more today due to continued Tory economic mismanagement, a new ad points out.

LabourList x Lime Karaoke and Club Night

As the keen-eyed amongst you may have noticed, this morning email is sponsored by our friends over at Lime, the world’s largest and most experienced shared electric micro-mobility provider. In just a few week’s time, thousands of Labour MPs, councillors, activists and more will be travelling to Liverpool for the 2023 Labour Party Conference.

As is tradition, LabourList hosts the annual LabourList x Lime Karaoke and DJ night, which is the highlight of our year and a chance to see big Labour names belt out the classics. On Monday 9th October 2023 from 8pm at the popular Bierkeller bar, a stone’s throw from central Liverpool and the ACC, we will be back and better than ever. 

We would like to offer LabourList readers access to early early-bird tickets to our karaoke and club night, at an early discount rate of £10. This night is almost certain to sell out though and early-bird tickets are limited, so take the opportunity to snap them up fast. You can access tickets HERE.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with the team at [email protected].

This is an online version of LabourList’s daily newsletter, which hits the inboxes of tens of thousands of Labour members, MPs, councillors, staff and others interested in reading the most comprehensive, independent briefing in town on Labour news, analysis and debate.

Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.

More from LabourList


We provide our content free, but providing daily Labour news, comment and analysis costs money. Small monthly donations from readers like you keep us going. To those already donating: thank you.

If you can afford it, can you join our supporters giving £10 a month?

And if you’re not already reading the best daily round-up of Labour news, analysis and comment…