Labour members start voting next week for the party’s new leader. As the process enters its final stage, thoughts are turning to who the three remaining candidates might appoint to shadow cabinet posts. Here are a few possibilities for each – though it must be stressed that this is an ever-changing process.
Yvette Cooper: One of Labour’s best-known backbench MPs, Cooper spent Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership out of the shadow cabinet and is tipped for a return, not just under Starmer. Any leader must take into account that this would mean Cooper stepping down as chair of the home affairs committee, where she will be a rigorous scrutiniser of Priti Patel.
Ed Miliband: Reports this week that Miliband could become Starmer’s shadow chancellor are understood to be news to Starmer’s team, who have not been in touch with the former Labour leader. But that does not mean the new-model, podcast-hosting incarnation of Miliband will not make a return of some kind.
A close ally of the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, the Salford MP and shadow business secretary has been groomed as a potential leftwing contender for the top job.
The Wigan MP has built a reputation as a campaigner for her constituency and others like it, many of which have fallen to the Tories. A soft-left candidate, she resigned from the shadow cabinet in 2016 over Corbyn’s leadership and handling of the EU referendum.
Ambitious former director of public prosecutions has led the charge for remain in the shadow cabinet. He was instrumental in shifting Labour’s position towards backing a second referendum
Pitch Launched his campaign by highlighting how he has stood up for leftwing causes as a campaigning lawyer, and unveiled the slogan “Another Future is Possible”, arguing “Labour can win again if we make the moral case for socialism“
Jim McMahon: Relatively little-known outside Westminster and Labour circles, the former leader of Oldham council has been an MP since 2015 and is a trusted member of the Starmer camp – so much so that he stood in for him this month at a local government leadership hustings event, when Starmer’s mother-in-law was critically ill.
Lisa Nandy: While the Wigan MP still has a genuine, if outside, chance of winning the leadership contest herself, unlike the other contenders she has already said she would serve in someone else’s shadow cabinet. Having often impressed in the campaign, a significant role could await.
Angela Rayner: A close friend of Long-Bailey, with the pair sharing a London flat, Rayner would seem a shoo-in for a senior role in a Long-Bailey shadow cabinet. In fact, as one of the party’s most effective performers and favourite to win the parallel contest to be Labour’s deputy leader, Rayner is likely to be a key frontbencher for whoever succeeds Corbyn.
Jeremy Corbyn: Speaking of the current leader, Long-Bailey has said she could offer him a senior role, and Corbyn has not ruled out accepting a frontbench post. There would be a risk to this – Long-Bailey is already seen as the continuity Corbyn figure, an impression that would only be reinforced if he became a key minister.
Richard Burgon: While Rayner was unofficially billed as the other part of a Long-Bailey/deputy leader ticket, as the two contests have gone on it is Burgon, the staunchly Corbynite shadow justice secretary, who has emerged more as an ideological parallel. He would certainly expect a promotion if she won.
Zarah Sultana: Having been an MP for all of 10 weeks, a shadow cabinet job would seem premature, but if Long-Bailey wins it will be worth looking out to see if she advances any of the 2019 intake of left-leaning Labour MPs. Of these, the new member for Coventry South is perhaps the most prominent.
Louise Haigh: The shadow policing minister is a key member of Team Nandy, and has been a near-constant figure on the front row of her campaign events. As such, she is generally the first MP mentioned when a Nandy shadow cabinet is mooted, and would expect a top job.
Jon Ashworth: Another key Nandy backer, who has spent more than three years as an effective shadow health secretary under Corbyn without ever being a Corbynite. He could remain at health, but would most likely also enjoy a new brief.
Dan Jarvis: A frontbench exile under Corbyn, Jarvis briefly considered a leadership bid himself, but then decided to support Nandy. One potential complication for him taking a significant role is that as well as being an MP, he is also mayor for the Sheffield city region.
Sarah Owen: Another brand new parliamentarian, the MP for Luton North is not, however, a novice, and is a member of Labour’s ruling NEC. Formerly a political officer for the GMB union, Owen was seen as one of the factors in getting the union to support Nandy, which was a key moment in her campaign.