Labour leader Kier Starmer’s chaotic reshuffle has included giving housing spokesperson Lucy Powell the new job of shadow Digital, Culture, Media and Sport brief, it has been announced.
Lisa Nandy, who has been demoted from shadow Foreign Secretary, has been given the job of scrutinising the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, taking over Powell’s former role.
The reshuffle, which had been expected, took place yesterday, kicking off while the party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner was giving a key speech on parliamentary sleaze, apparently catching her by surprise.
Other departures include Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow home secretary who is replaced by Yvette Cooper, Kate Green, the shadow education secretary and Jo Stevens, the shadow culture secretary.
The reshuffle has been reported as Starmer’s attempt to both keep Rayner at arm’s length and reduce the number of left-wingers within the shadow cabinet.
Powell, the MP for Manchester Central since 2012, was appointed to the shadow Housing role in May, taking over from Thangam Debbonaire, who became shadow leader of the House of Commons.
But Powell’s tenure heading up the housing brief has been both brief and relatively unremarkable.
Her high point was a keynote speech in September during Labour’s conference in Brighton, during which, as LandordZONE reported, she attacked landlords and holiday homeowners.
“I see no contradiction in us also promoting home-ownership – not for more landlords or second homes, but for ordinary working people – nurses, electricians, delivery drivers and care workers – currently priced out,” she said.
She also said a Labour government would link housing costs to wages and “tackle the thorny issues of quality, affordability and security in private rentals”.