LONDON, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Opposition Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, was appointed on Monday as the British party’s levelling up policy chief and will ‘shadow’ the government’s deputy prime minister, part of a reshuffle of Keir Starmer’s top team to fight an election.
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, deputy prime minister.
“Deputy Leader Angela Rayner MP has been appointed Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities,” the Labour Party said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
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 traditional Labour supporters who voted 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, Rishi 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 southern England.