'Constitutional Outrage': Rayner Allies Accuse Keir Starmer of Trying to Scrap Deputy Leader Post

© AFP 2022 / JUSTIN TALLISBritain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer (L) and Britain's main opposition Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner sit in the conference hall for the the debate on the leadership election rules changes, on the second day of the annual Labour Party conference at The Brighton Centre in Brighton on the south coast of England, on September 26, 2021
Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer (L) and Britain's main opposition Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner sit in the conference hall for the the debate on the leadership election rules changes, on the second day of the annual Labour Party conference at The Brighton Centre in Brighton on the south coast of England, on September 26, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.12.2021
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On Friday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer insisted that there was "no personal issue" between him and Angela Rayner, but he offered no apology for keeping the deputy in the dark about the details of a recent Shadow Cabinet reshuffle.
Allies of UK Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner are concerned over an alleged drive by Sir Keir Starmer's advisers to abolish her post, the Daily Mail has revealed.

The newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying that Rayner's allies reacted angrily to even the very idea of scrapping the "historic" post of deputy leader, slamming it as a "brutal" move and a "constitutional outrage".

© AFP 2022 / JUSTIN TALLISBritain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer (L) and Britain's main opposition Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner sit in a conference hall for a debate on the leadership election rule changes, on the second day of the annual Labour Party conference at The Brighton Centre in Brighton on the south coast of England, on September 26, 2021
Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer (L) and Britain's main opposition Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner sit in a conference hall for a debate on the leadership election rule changes, on the second day of the annual Labour Party conference at The Brighton Centre in Brighton on the south coast of England, on September 26, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.12.2021
Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer (L) and Britain's main opposition Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner sit in a conference hall for a debate on the leadership election rule changes, on the second day of the annual Labour Party conference at The Brighton Centre in Brighton on the south coast of England, on September 26, 2021
One of the sources argued that Starmer's purported push to nix Rayner's position indicates that the 59-year-old is "frightened" and "intimidated" by the Labour No 2.

"To even talk about getting rid of his deputy's post is an outrage and insult to party democracy", the insider asserted.

Moderate MPs, for their part, recalled that a few years ago, left-wing allies of then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also tried to remove the deputy job to get rid of then-post-holder Tom Watson who had repeatedly criticised Corbyn.
Prime Minister's Questions session in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.11.2021
Ins and Outs of Labour Leader Starmer's Front Bench Shake-Up
The Daily Mail also cited an unnamed Labour source as saying that the so-called "nuclear option" of scrapping the deputy post was revived earlier in 2021. According to the insider, the idea was "very seriously" considered because "Keir would feel he had really tried to get on with Angie [Rayner] and it's proved impossible".

The source reiterated that Starmer mending ties with Rayner was "probably impossible" because it was "such an obviously personal thing" against the deputy leader.

Starmer's spokeswoman has, meanwhile, rejected allegations that there have been any discussions on removing the deputy leader post or plans to do so, according to the Daily Mail.
The developments come amid reports that Rayner was unhappy about Starmer's reluctance to brief her on the details of last week's shakeup of the Shadow Cabinet.
The Labour leader, in turn, assured reporters that "there is no personal issue between me and Angela", but offered no apology for not letting the deputy know about the reshuffle of his team.

"We're friends, we get on, we talk a lot. We bring different things to the table. The two of us make each other stronger. She's politically astute and invaluable to me as a deputy", Starmer said.

In last week's reshuffle, Yvette Cooper was made Shadow Home Secretary, David Lammy became Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Lisa Nandy was shifted to Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Secretary.
Labour Party leader Keir Starmer campaigns ahead of local elections, in Birmingham - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.05.2021
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Additionally, Wes Streeting received the job of Shadow Health Secretary, while Nick Thomas-Symonds and Ed Miliband were made Shadow Secretaries for International Trade and Climate Change, respectively.
The shakeup is reportedly aimed at reinvigorating Starmer's top team ahead of the UK general election scheduled for May 2024.
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