UK's opposition Labour leader reshuffles top team before election
Britain's opposition Labour leader, Keir Starmer, launched a reshuffle of his top team on Monday to fight a national election expected next year, appointing his deputy Angela Rayner as the party's levelling up policy chief.
Rayner, a popular lawmaker among the party's members, will take the higher profile role which will 'shadow' the government's policies, led by veteran Conservative Michael Gove, to try to level up or address regional inequality in Britain.
She will also 'shadow' Oliver Dowden, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's deputy.
Lisa Nandy, who was Labour's levelling up policy chief, was appointed as shadow minister for international development.
"Keir is delighted that Angela has accepted this important role, in addition she will continue to be the strategic lead on Labour's new deal for working people," a Labour source said.
Labour is way ahead in the opinion polls before next year's expected national election, but the party is cautious in its approach, mindful that it needs to win back its traditional supporters who switched to vote for the Conservatives in 2019.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a large majority in 2019 by tapping anger in traditionally Labour-supporting areas in northern and central England, and his "levelling up agenda" became one of his main priorities.
His successor Sunak has been criticised for failing to prioritise the levelling up agenda, with some questioning whether he is too concerned about losing traditional Conservative voters in more affluent parts of southern England.