New Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer begins appointing shadow cabinet

Newly-elected Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has begun appointing his shadow cabinet.

The winner of the Labour leadership battle appointed Anneliese Dodds as shadow chancellor, Lisa Nandy as shadow foreign secretary and Nick Thomas-Symonds as shadow home secretary.

Labour's deputy leader will be Angela Rayner, who won the contest to succeed Tom Watson.

Rachel Reeves has been appointed shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Jonathan Ashworth will continue as shadow health and social care secretary.

While Nick Brown has been re-appointed chief whip and Angela Smith remains shadow leader of the Lords.

Sir Keir secured a landslide victory in the Labour leadership contest to replace Jeremy Corbyn.

Angela Rayner will be Labour's new deputy leader. Credit: PA

John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, who served under outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, are out of the shadow cabinet, but former shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry is expected to remain - albeit in a different role.

Sir Keir said: “We are living through a national emergency.

"Under my leadership, the Labour Party will always act in the country’s interest to save lives and protect livelihoods.

"That will be the number one priority of my shadow cabinet.

“We will be a responsible opposition that supports the Government where we believe they are right and challenge them when we believe mistakes are being made.”

Anneliese Dodds has been appointed shadow chancellor. Credit: PA

Sir Keir is to chair a new shadow Covid-19 committee that will take on responsibility for co-ordinating Labour's response to the coronavirus pandemic, the party said.

Alongside Sir Keir, the committee members are: Ms Rayner, Ms Dodds, Ms Nandy, Mr Thomas-Symonds, Ms Reeves and Mr Ashworth.

It comes after the newly-elected Labour leader criticised the Government of making “serious mistakes” in its response to the coronavirus crisis.

He said ministers have been too slow at explaining why the UK is “so far behind” on testing.

Sir Keir also called for “blockages in the system” which are delaying the delivery of protective equipment – known as PPE – to front-line workers to be “addressed quickly”.