The Prime Minister has been transferred to a ward at St Thomas’ Hospital following three nights treatment in an intensive care unit for coronavirus symptoms.
“This is good news. I hope it is the beginnings of a speedy recovery”, tweeted Labour’s new leader Sir Keir Starmer, who also announced the appointments to his Shadow Cabinet – including a return to front-line politics for former party leader Ed Miliband.
Starmer has called on the government to outline the plans for Boris Johnson’s recovery period, and said: “We need to know how long he [Johnson] is going to be out of action and the government needs to put in place sensible arrangements.
“If it is likely to be weeks – and it could be – we need robust replacement arrangements put in place. And we need to know what they are, as soon as possible.”
‘PM almost took one for the team’ – Stanley Johnson
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab is deputising for Johnson until the PM returns, in his role as first secretary of state, the second most senior position in cabinet. Raab has been chairing the daily morning meetings of ministers and experts to tackle the coronavirus outbreak during the PM’s absence.
The PM’s father, Stanley Johnson, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme “[h]e almost took one for the team” while speaking about his “relief” the recovery has started.
“We’ve got to make sure we play properly now,” said Johnson Snr, adding he believed there would need to be a “period of adjustment” before the PM returns to work at No10.
Starmer’s shadow cabinet alarms Corbyn supporters
Should Raab step in for Johnson and take the next Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, he will be faced by Labour’s new deputy leader Angela Rayner, following her victory in the contest for the post.
She will also deputise at different functions for Starmer whose “Blairite appointments” to the Shadow Cabinet has alarmed Corbyn supporters, with the new leader trying to “tread a careful path between centrists and radical socialists”, reports the Financial Times.
Since his election to leader on Saturday, Starmer has “unveiled a shadow cabinet almost entirely drawn from the ‘soft-left’ of the party”, and sees the return of Ed Miliband to the front bench – five years after he stepped down as leader.
Jess Phillips gets home affairs post
The BBC report Starmer’s appointment of “prominent critics of his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn”, with one of the most high profile critics, Jess Philips, being appointed to the shadow home affairs team. That will be led by Nick Thomas-Symonds, the former shadow solicitor general and new shadow home secretary.
Former leadership-hopeful Liz Kendall – who finished last in the 2015 election won by Corbyn – has been made a shadow health minister, as too Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, who also stood in the recent deputy leader contest. Jonathan Ashworth will continue as shadow health secretary.
Corbyn-ally and defeated leadership contender Rebecca Long-Bailey is shadow education secretary with Lisa Nandy, who also failed to win the leader’s election, made shadow foreign secretary.
Starmer’s right wing treasury team is ‘particularly provocative’
Anneliese Dodds is the new shadow chancellor and is joined at the Treasury team by vocal Corbyn critics Wes Streeting and Pat McFadden. Those appointments have drawn particular ire with a leftwing Labour MP, quoted by the FT, saying: “Packing the Treasury team with people whose political positions are to the right of Rishi Sunak right now seems particularly provocative.”
Other Corbyn-critics to be appointed shadow roles include Stephen Doughty and Stephen Kinnock at foreign affairs, Matthew Pennycook at the business department and Peter Kyle at justice.
“This is a new team that will take the Labour Party forward in a new era,” said Starmer. “Under my leadership, the Labour Party will be utterly focused on working in the national interest, rebuilding people’s trust in our party and winning the next election.”