Today ballot papers start going out in the Labour leadership contest (or, in most cases, emails – people are generally expected to vote electronically) and this morning Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary and the clear favourite in the contest, has doing a round of interviews. On the Today programme he was asked if there would be space for Jeremy Corbyn in his shadow cabinet if he won and, although he dodged the question, listeners might have concluded that the answer was no. When Mishal Husain asked Starmer if he would give Corbyn a job, Starmer replied:
Look, there’s been so much speculation. I have not discussed that team with anybody. I’m totally focused …
Husain then pressed him again, saying he must have a view on this. But Starmer stuck to the same line.
If you can believe it, given that we have been at this for weeks, the ballot is only dropping today, no votes have been cast yet, I’m focused on winning this race and getting as many votes as I possibly can through my argument about unity, effective opposition and focusing on winning the next general election. I have not discussed the shadow cabinet with anybody. And therefore whatever is swirling around, because there are names everywhere, it is all rumour, I can tell you.
Although Starmer may not have discussed specific shadow cabinet jobs with anybody, at a Labour hustings yesterday he did say that there would be top jobs for both Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy if he won. Previously he had declined to make that commitment.
In truth, most Labour members would probably expect Corbyn to leave the frontbench whoever wins – not least because that is normally what outgoing leaders do (although some do later return to cabinet or shadow cabinet roles, like William Hague). Long-Bailey herself said less than two weeks ago that Corbyn had done his bit and that it was time for a new generation. But she has also said separately that she would offer Corbyn a job because she likes him so much, and the leftwing deputy leadership candidate Richard Burgon has said the “ideal” outcome would be for Corbyn to stay on as shadow foreign secretary. Last week Corbyn did not rule out taking a shadow cabinet post if offered one.
I will post more from the Starmer interviews shortly.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: Prof Sir Michael Marmot publishes a report on health inequalities across England.
9.30am: David Gauke, the former Tory cabinet minister, speaks at the launch of a Resolution Foundation report on the outlook for next month’s budget. As Richard Partington reports, it says the government is set to increase borrowing to spend more than £1tn a year, increasing the size of the British state to make it bigger than at any point under the 10-year premiership of Labour’s Tony Blair.
11am: Downing Street lobby briefing.
2.30pm: The Commons starts sitting again after the half-term recess. After housing questions, there are likely to be urgent questions or government statements.
After 3pm: Peers start debating the emergency terrorist offenders (restriction of early release) bill. It is due to clear all its Lords stages by the end of the day.
As usual, I will be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I plan to post a summary when I wrap up.
You can read all the latest Guardian politics articles here. Here is the Politico Europe roundup of this morning’s political news. And here is the PoliticsHome list of today’s top 10 must-reads.
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