Sir Keir Starmer’s closest aide has been reshuffled as part of a clear-out of his top team as Labour seeks to avoid another potential disaster in the forthcoming Batley and Spen by-election.
Baroness Chapman will be moved from her role as the party’s political director to a position on the front bench, where she will be tasked with shadowing Lord Frost, the Brexit minister.
The 47-year-old, who voted Remain in 2016, served under Sir Keir when he was the shadow Brexit Secretary and was considered one of the leading figures in the push to secure a second referendum.
While Labour sources insisted her move was part of a wider restructuring in the leader’s office, shadow cabinet sources told The Telegraph it was an effective "demotion" that completed an overhaul of Sir Keir’s leadership team.
"This is an opportunity to restructure, because it hasn’t worked for quite a while," one added. "It will be broadly welcomed by the PLP [Parliamentary Labour Party], but people will want to see something different and a change of an approach."
It comes just days after the Labour leader’s director and deputy director of communications announced that they were stepping down, while it was also confirmed that Morgan McSweeney, his chief of staff, would be moved to a new "strategic" role.
Despite Sir Keir maintaining full confidence in Baroness Chapman, she has faced mounting criticism in recent months after clashing with a number of Labour MPs and over her involvement in the Hartlepool by-election.
She was accused of interfering in the campaign and helping to "stitch up" the candidacy for Dr Paul Williams, a fellow Remainer who had lost his Stockton South seat in 2019. Hartlepool voted overwhelmingly to leave the European Union. On May 6, the Conservatives took the seat for the first time since it was created in 1974.
Last week, Labour’s woes continued when it suffered its worst ever by-election result in Chesham and Amersham, which saw the party lose its deposit after securing just 622 votes.
Labour insiders are now increasingly concerned they are on course to lose a second "Red Wall" seat on July 1, with recent polling indicating that the Conservatives are six points ahead in Batley and Spen.
Sir Keir could face a leadership challenge from the party’s Left wing if he fails to hold the seat. Diane Abbott, the former shadow home secretary, has warned that losing would mean "curtains" for the Labour leader.