Labour heavyweights Yvette Cooper and David Lammy have made a return to the shadow cabinet after a surprise reshuffle by Keir Starmer.
The chair of the Home Affairs Select committee has been promoted to the Labour leader’s top team to take on Priti Patel as shadow home secretary.
And the shadow justice secretary, who is a personal friend of former US President Barack Obama, has been moved to the foreign office brief.
Their appointments brings two of the party’s most effective and experienced performers to the political front-line.
Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
Other big moves in the reshuffle include Lisa Nandy, one of the party’s best communicators and an expert on towns, to the ‘levelling up’ brief.
Ms Cooper, who held two Cabinet positions when Labour was last in government, is already well known with the public.
Her profile raised still further when her husband, ex-MP Ed Balls, became a household name on Strictly Come Dancing.
The Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP’s first frontbench role was as a health minister in Tony Blair’s New Labour government in 1999.
Mr Lammy, another Labour stalwart, has long-standing links with US Democrats while the former Remain campaigner is close to a host of European leaders.
He was pictured at the G7 last month with Olaf Scholz, who is taking over from Angela Merkel as German chancellor.
The Tottenham MP, whose constituency is one of the most international in the UK, has close links with the Caribbean region.
As a former trustee of charity ActionAid, he also has experience of the developing world.
Their appointments came after Mr Starmer carried out his second reshuffle in less than seven months.
Other big moves include Lisa Nandy to the ‘levelling up’ brief, Lucy Powell to the culture team and Nick Thomas-Symonds to trade.
Mr Starmer put ‘levelling up’ at the heart of Labour’s strategy for the next election by putting Ms Nandy in charge of the key battleground.
The Wigan MP, who will step down from her role shadowing foreign secretary Liz Truss, is widely regarded as one of the party’s best communicators.
Ms Nandy, also tipped as a future Labour leader, will run the shadow communities brief where she will take on top Tory Michael Gove.
Keir Starmer MP said: “I’m particularly delighted that Lisa Nandy will take on the vital role of shadowing Michael Gove and leading on the levelling up agenda.
“After 11 years of Conservative mismanagement of our economy, delivering prosperity to all regions and nations in the UK will be a defining mission of the next Labour government, and there will be nobody better than Lisa to lead this work.”
Lisa Nandy MP said: “This is the battleground that will shape the future of our country.
“The Tories have given us a decade of empty slogans and broken promises. Keir and I will deliver a plan for Britain that matches the ambition of the British people in every community across the U.K.”
Boris Johnson had pledged to ‘level up’ the country at the last election but has struggled to articulate what that means for millions of people.
Instead he has broken promises on rail infrastructure and social care which will hit the poorest and those in the North hardest.
One Labour insider said: “We see this as key battleground for the next general election and Lisa a great communicator for the party.
“Keir’s been really impressed with her in foreign but wants to put her into this key domestic portfolio to make best use of her talents.”
The Labour leader began the reshuffle just as his deputy Angela Rayner started a major Westminster speech about cleaning up Tory sleaze.
A visibly shaken Ms Rayner was ambushed with questions about the timing of the latest reshuffle.
Aides said she had a “short conversation” in person with Mr Starmer before she took to the stage at the Institute for Government and after carrying out a series of TV and radio interviews.
His first reshuffle on May 9 was botched after he attempted to sideline Ms Rayner – only to hand her a series of new roles and bolster her position.
In the reshuffle, Mr Starmer shunted Shadow Culture Secretary Jo Stevens to the Wales brief after firing Nia Griffiths.
Ex-housing spokesman Lucy Powell is believed to have taken her place.
Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds was also demoted to the International Trade portfolio.
There was speculation that Emily Thornberry would move to the shadow home affairs role where the heavy-hitter would be tasked with landing blows on Priti Patel.
Shadow Minister for Young People and Democracy Cat Smith quit, though it is understood she was set to be sent to the backbenches.