Things are looking up for the Labour party. They’re twenty points ahead in the polls, the Tories are squabbling over planning reform and just last week Keir Starmer won Politician of the Year at the annual Spectator Parliamentarian Awards. Still – as anyone within the Leader’s Office will tell you – they’re keen to avoid even in the merest hint of complacency.

It was in that spirit that Sir Keir overhauled his top team last month, axing his chief of staff, Sam White, and claiming that Labour is now on an election footing. He told (surviving) party staff on a call that ‘We are turning the page to the final act of opposition: driving the Labour party into government.’ And it’s to further that end that the party is now hiring a new chief of staff to lead the Starmer Army to victory in 2024.

Steerpike understands a hunt is on for White’s replacement, with an ex-civil servant favoured to fill the vacancy. Between 1997 and 2007 long-time diplomat Jonathan Powell served in this capacity for Tony Blair, having spent 16 years in the Foreign Office. It is hoped that Starmer’s equivalent in 2022 will have considerable experience in the Whitehall jungle, given how few of his backroom or Shadow Cabinet colleagues have ever served in government.

Lord Kerslake has previously been commissioned to undertake several reviews for the party, despite still sitting on the cross benches. At 67, he might be too old but certainly has the credentials, given his service as Head of the Home Civil Service between 2012 and 2014. Lord O’Donnell could, perhaps, be another, given his many years’ service during the New Labour era, though his septuagenarian status might give pause for thought.

Given Labour’s success in the polls, Mr S is sure the Leader’s Office will be inundated with offers. Those who miss out though shouldn’t despair: given the current attrition rate, there will surely be a fresh recruitment drive for another Chief of Staff in a year or so’s time.

QOSHE - Wanted: a chief of staff for Starmer - Steerpike
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Wanted: a chief of staff for Starmer

8 4 19
28.11.2022

Things are looking up for the Labour party. They’re twenty points ahead in the polls, the Tories are squabbling over planning reform and just last week Keir Starmer won Politician of the Year at the annual Spectator Parliamentarian Awards. Still – as anyone within the Leader’s Office will tell you – they’re keen to avoid even in the merest hint of complacency.

It was in that spirit that Sir Keir overhauled his top team last month, axing his chief of staff, Sam White, and claiming........

© The Spectator


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