Who are the new Labour cabinet?

Following a landslide election victory, Keir Starmer’s Labour government faces a range of urgent priorities both home and abroad, from a prison’s overcrowding crisis and huge NHS waiting lists to the wars in Gaza and Ukraine.

Below we list the members of the new cabinet and the main tasks that await them.

Angela Rayner

Angela Rayner

Deputy prime minister and secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities

Seen as being more leftwing than Starmer, Rayner, 44, will take the lead on Labour’s plans to strengthen workers’ rights and to build 1.5m new homes. She has promised “the biggest boost to affordable, social and council housing for a generation”.

A teenage mother who left school at 16, Rayner is often described as the John Prescott to Starmer’s Tony Blair. Her outspokenness has made her a hate figure among Tory MPs, whom she once described as a “bunch of scum”.

Rachel Reeves

Rachel Reeves

Chancellor of the exchequer

Britain’s first female chancellor of the exchequer, Reeves, 45, has made it her mission to secure the “highest sustained growth in the G7” to finance the rebuilding of the UK’s public services.

The Leeds West and Pudsey MP, who spent six years working for the Bank of England between 2000 and 2006, has said the pathway to economic growth is “stability, investment and reform”.

She has made it her mantra that Labour’s tough stance on the public finances is “non-negotiable”. “It can’t just be about tax and spend,” she said.

Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper

Home secretary

Cooper, 55, will be tasked with addressing the asylum backlog and restoring public confidence in the police. She has said she will enforce Labour’s pledge to scrap the Rwanda deportation scheme on “day one” of government.

A former chief secretary to the Treasury in the last Labour government, she has also pledged to force the Home Office to take a more active approach to crime and policing. The MP for Pontefract, Castleford, Knottingley and Altofts is married to Ed Balls, who served alongside her in the cabinet under Gordon Brown.

David Lammy

David Lammy

Foreign secretary

Lammy, 51, faces the challenge of improving the UK’s relationship with Europe and the global south as the wars in Ukraine and Gaza show no sign of ending.

A junior minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Lammy has earned a reputation for political reinvention but his success in office may depend on the outcome of the US presidential election.

While he has claimed he can work with Donald Trump, it remains to be seen whether Trump will want to do business with the Tottenham MP, who once described the former president as “a racist KKK and Nazi sympathiser”.

Wes Streeting

Wes Streeting

Health and social care secretary

Streeting, 41, has said that he’s prepared to use private facilities to cut NHS waiting lists, which stand at 7.5 million in England, and waiting times “in the short term”.

Although his leftwing critics have suggested the health service is unsafe in his hands, he has denied that this amounts to privatisation by the back door.

The MP for Ilford North, who last year published a memoir about his colourful upbringing, including a bank-robber grandfather, has a reputation for ruthlessness, which he might need to tackle the dire state of the NHS.

Bridget Phillipson

Bridget Phillipson

Education secretary

A Starmer loyalist, Phillipson, 40, inspired the prime minister’s promise to improve social mobility by breaking through the “class ceiling” with better education.

The Houghton and Sunderland South MP says she plans to transform state schools, paying for more teachers by ending tax breaks for private schools, a policy estimated to raise about £1.6bn a year.

Phillipson, an Oxford graduate who was raised by her mother in a small terraced council house in Washington, a former mining town between Sunderland and Newcastle in Tyne and Wear, is expected to launch a review of the school curriculum and assessment system, including looking at A-levels and GCSEs.

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband

Energy security and net zero secretary

Miliband will oversee the roll out of the new government’s green agenda, amid concerns over its commitment to tackling the climate crisis.

The Doncaster North MP, 54, reportedly opposed Starmer’s decision to dramatically slash the party’s much heralded green prosperity plan from £28bn a year to under £15bn – only a third of which would be new money.

Miliband beat his brother, David, to become Labour leader in 2010. A photograph of him eating a bacon sandwich in 2014 became an internet meme and prompted accusations of antisemitism.

Pat McFadden

Pat McFadden

Chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster

As Labour’s national campaign coordinator, McFadden, 58, was crucial in the party’s electoral success. In his new role running the Cabinet Office, he will take on even greater responsibility for the direction of Starmer’s government.

A veteran of Tony Blair’s era, working on the 1997 election campaign alongside Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell, the Wolverhampton South East MP has a reputation for quiet but ruthless efficiency.

One Labour MP on the soft-left of the party told the Guardian: “He may be softly spoken, but he’s as hard as they come.”

Shabana Mahmood

Shabana Mahmood

Justice secretary

Mahmood, 43, faces the task of dealing with prison overcrowding, with reports that jail are days away from being completely full.

A former barrister, the MP for Birmingham Ladywood was previously Labour’s national campaign coordinator and shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.

One of Labour’s most senior Muslim MPs, earlier this year she warned that Labour faced “a loss of trust” from British Muslims over its position on the war in Gaza. She has urged the party to “rebuild” relations with Muslim voters.

Jonathan Reynolds

Jonathan Reynolds

Business and trade secretary

Reynolds, 43, has said Labour would seek to achieve “significant improvements” to the post-Brexit relationship with the EU. But he has rejected trying to rejoin the EU’s single market or customs union.

He has said Labour will take a more interventionist approach to the economy: “I feel people do not yet understand the scale of Labour’s ambition on the economy.”

Reynolds, who held shadow cabinet posts under Miliband and Corbyn, tried to introduce proportional representation via a private member’s bill in 2015.

Liz Kendall

Liz Kendall

Work and pensions secretary

Seen as firmly on the right of the party, Kendall has said there would be “no option of a life on benefits” under a Labour government, in tough language on welfare reminiscent of 90s-era New Labour.

The long-serving Leicester West MP, who came last out of four candidates in the Labour leadership election, Kendall said the party would recruit 8,500 more mental health workers and promised that the sickness benefits bill would fall under Labour.

She has also pledged to investigate unpaid carers being left with crippling debts and threatened with prosecution after Department for Work and Pensions overpayments, a situation she described as “unforgivable”.

John Healey

John Healey

Defence secretary

Healey, 64, opposed his Tory predecessor Grant Shapps’ reduction in the size of the army, and campaigned on the poor state of military accommodation.

Writing for the Telegraph during the election campaign, the MP for Rawmarsh and Conisbrough accused the Tories of plunging morale in the army to “record lows”. But it is unclear what he will do in office, and may remain so until nearer a strategic defence review in 2025.

A frontbencher in the Blair-Brown years and a loyal member of the shadow cabinets of Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn, the five years he spent as a junior Treasury minister in the mid-2000s should help his bid to raise the defence budget.

Louise Haigh

Louise Haigh

Transport secretary

Under Haigh’s plans, private train operating companies will gradually be renationalised under the umbrella of Great British Railway as each franchise comes up for renewal. All contracts are expected to lapse within the next four years.

Known for her sense of humour and vibrant dyed hair, Haigh, 36, worked as a Metropolitan police officer in London before becoming an MP in 2015. The MP for Sheffield Heeley nominated Jeremy Corbyn in the 2015 Labour leadership, then backed Owen Smith, and campaigned for Lisa Nandy rather than Starmer to be party leader in 2020.

Steve Reed

Steve Reed

Environment secretary

Reed, 60, has pledged to halt the decline of British species and protect at least 30% of the land and sea by 2030. He also vowed to set a new land use framework that would prioritise the protection of nature, and to deliver on targets to improve the UK’s environment.

As the MP for Streatham and Croydon North, he introduced a scheme in Brixton naming and shaming people convicted of buying drugs while he was leader of Lambeth council. In 2022, when he was the shadow justice secretary, he backed Tony Blair’s slogan “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” from the 1990s.

Peter Kyle

Peter Kyle

Science, innovation and technology secretary

Kyle, 53, has said Labour will force artificial intelligence firms to share the results of test data about their technology with officials.

He has said legislators and regulators have been “behind the curve” on social media and a Labour government would not repeat the same mistake with AI.

A former shadow schools minister, Kyle has spoken out about the challenges of being severely dyslexic. He has a reading age of only eight but went on to gain a PhD at Sussex University.

The MP for Hove and Portslade held senior posts in children’s charities before becoming an MP.

Hilary Benn

Hilary Benn

Northern Ireland secretary

Benn’s main task will be smoothing relationships between politicians in Northern Ireland.

He said he will “repeal and replace” the government’s controversial Legacy Act, which comes into force in May, which many victims and relatives of those who died during the Troubles believe is designed to protect state participants from accountability.

Son of veteran Labour MP Tony Benn, he served as international development secretary under Blair and environment secretary under Brown, and gained a reputation as a good listener and persuasive advocate.

The MP for Leeds South, 70, also held shadow cabinet posts under Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn.

Ian Murray

Ian Murray

Scotland secretary

During the election campaign, Murray said a Labour government would “turbo-charge” the Scotland Office and promote “brand Scotland” internationally in an attempt to boost exports, jobs and investment.

Murray, 47, campaigned against independence during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. He is the MP for Edinburgh South, and previously worked in events management, online broadcasting and finance.

Jo Stevens

Jo Stevens

Wales secretary

Stevens, 57, has promised “strengthening of devolution” and a better relationship between the Welsh and UK governments.

Labour’s manifesto said it would explore the devolution of probation, and consider the devolution of youth justice.

But the MP for Cardiff East, a former solicitor who was shadow solicitor general and shadow justice minister under Corbyn, has rejected calls for the Welsh government to be given control of policing and adult criminal justice.

Richard Hermer
Richard Hermer

Richard Hermer KC

Attorney general

Hermer KC is arguably the most surprising appointment, with Emily Thornberry, who has served as shadow attorney general since 2021, widely expected to be appointed.

The human rights barrister at Matrix Chambers, who was called to the bar in 1993, he was also given a peerage.

Hermer was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2009 and is a deputy high court judge assigned to the king’s bench division and administrative court.

He has also acted in inquests raising systemic failings in the custodial system including into the series of deaths of Irish men in Brixton prison, a series of deaths of vulnerable women at Styal prison and the case of Adam Rickwood, the youngest person to die in custody in the modern era.

Lisa Nandy

Lisa Nandy

Culture secretary

Nandy, 44, who had been shadow international development secretary, is also chair of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East – a role that has positioned her well to lobby for UN relief on behalf of those in Gaza. She backed David Lammy in calling for a ceasefire.

She stood to succeed Corbyn in the 2020 leadership election, saying that she wanted to “bring Labour home” to its traditional strongholds. She came third in the contest.

Her book All In: How We Build a Country That Works was published in 2022 and argued for the empowerment of local communities. MP for Wigan since 2010, she was one of the first Asian female MPs.

Darren Jones

Darren Jones

Chief secretary to the Treasury

Jones, 37, became the first ever Darren elected to parliament when he became the MP for Bristol North West in 2017.

He has said he wants to create an office for value for money to cut waste in public services.

A former solicitor, he is also a proponent of AI. He chaired the business, energy and industrial strategy select committee before joining the shadow cabinet in 2023.

Lucy Powell

Lucy Powell

Leader of the House of Commons

MP for Manchester Central, Powell has held several shadow cabinet posts under Miliband, Corbyn and Starmer. She was vice-chair of Labour’s unsuccessful 2015 general election campaign.

Powell, 49, has said she enjoyed clubbing at the Hacienda as a teenager. She quit Oxford University, which she said she hated and has likened to Hogwarts, to study chemistry at King’s College London.

Alan Campbell

Sir Alan Campbell

Chief whip in the House of Commons

Campbell, 66, served in the Blair governments as a parliamentary private secretary and a junior minister at the Cabinet Office and later the Home Office.

A former teacher, the MP for Tynemouth was knighted in the 2019 new year honours list.

Angela Smith

Angela Smith

Leader of the House of Lords

Lady Smith, 65, served as a parliamentary private secretary and later minister of state for the third sector under Gordon Brown.

She has been a member of the Lords for 14 years, longer than she was in the Commons, where she represented Basildon from 1997 to 2010.

Smith has spoken of Labour’s need to “refresh our numbers” in the Lords, as it has not had new peers join at the same speed as the Conservatives.

The Guardian