Labour on an election footing
Text | James van der Graaf
Date | 04 January 2024
Read | 5 min
James van
der Graaf
Keir Starmer fired the startinggun on his election race last week with his New Year’s message and Rishi Sunak gavehis first indication that an Autumn election is now probable. Starmer and hiscampaign team will still have to work towards moving election dates – and do soseveral times before polling day. Starmer has been accused of failing to setout an alternative vision for government yet will want to keep his cards closeto his chest with potentially still 10 months left before the election.

Labour has been here before. Riding high in the polls as we enter an election year. However, as the year progresses, so will the scrutiny of Labour’s policy platform and Starmer’s team.His Head of Campaigns, Morgan McSweeney, reportedly presented a slideshow to the Shadow Cabinet over the Christmas period featuring a string of recent international elections that have defied the polls.

The message is clear –complacency will not be tolerated – in the knowledge that the electoral maths remains against them and even a slight shift in the polls could threatenLabour’s ability to form a majority Government.  

Following a reshuffle last year, his Shadow Cabinet looks election-ready, and he has reshaped his inner circle,with a singular focus on getting the keys to No 10.  These are some of his key allies and adviserswho will be responsible for coordinating the campaign, many of whom we expect will follow him into government, if elected.

Pat McFadden – National Campaign Coordinator
The shadow Cabinet Office minister is one of Starmer’s most experienced team members, being a veteran ofthe Blair and Brown governments. His transition to National Campaign’sCoordinator is a clear mark of Starmer preparing for the next General Election.McFadden is seen as the "enforcer", ensuring there are no unfundedspending commitments, and all policies are well thought through.
Ellie Reeves – Deputy National Campaign Coordinator
The younger sister of the ShadowChancellor, Reeves is part of the 2017 cohort and previously held a ShadowJustice role. While McFadden will focus more on the politics, Reeves will coverlogistics. She was central to coordinating the recent string of by-electionsand will oversee Labour’s ground operation.

Morgan McSweeney – Director of Campaigns
One of the most influential backroom operators in Starmer’s Labour. He is responsible for delivering the next election campaign – from vetting candidate selection to keeping a tight grip on policy and message discipline. He previously ran Starmer’s leadership campaign, served as his Chief of Staff and founded the Labour Together think tank.
Sue Gray – Chief of Staff
The former civil servant’s controversial move to Labour off the back of the Party gate scandal raised eyebrows. Now in post, she brings invaluable government experience, and her role is one of diplomacy, organisation and planning how to use the levers of power when in government. Gray has been central in pushing for civil service access talks.

Deborah Mattinson – Director of Strategy
Mattinson has been tasked with securing votes in the so-called ‘red wall’, in particular those ‘hero voters’,who they hope will switch from backing the Tories in 2019 to Labour in 2024.With a background in polling and the author of a book titled ‘Beyond the RedWall’, Mattinson will be the key driver of Starmer’s electoral mission and has been influential in putting green policies at the front and centre of Labour’s vision for Britain.