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Keir Starmer has appointed ex-Tony Blair aide Matthew Doyle as his interim director of communications as he shakes up his top team.

Mr Doyle was a former head of press for Labour under Mr Blair and advisor to David Blunkett who then went on to work with the ex-PM out of office.

His arrival will bolster Mr Starmer's backroom team at a time when the party is struggling in the polls and faces criticism for failing to demonstrate to the public what it stands for.

It follows the departure of communications director Ben Nunn who has stepped down to pursue other projects – and amid calls from MPs to bring in some experienced operators.

Mr Starmer's political director Jenny Chapman has moved to shadow Brexit minister David Frost in the House of Lords – with her replacement expected to be announced in coming days.

Confirming her new role on Thursday, she said: “I’m delighted that Keir has asked me to join the shadow cabinet, to help challenge the Government on the delivery of its post-Brexit promises and ensure a positive future for Britain outside of the EU."

Mr Doyle, who worked for Mr Blair from June 2007 to February 2012 as political director once the ex-Labour leader had left office, will do the role temporarily.

The party will advertise for a permanent replacement, with ex-editor of BBC Political Programmes Rob Burley thought to be a frontrunner.

Other names believed to be under discussion include London Mayor Sadiq Khan's outgoing director of communications Patrick Hennessy, ex-Huff Post editor-in-chief Jess Brammar and the TUC's head of campaigns and communications Antonia Bance.

Mr Starmer's team will be reinforced by the arrival next month of Britain Thinks co-founder Deborah Mattinson as his director of strategy.

Ms Mattinson, who was Gordon Brown's chief pollster, will try to help the party reconnect with 'Red Wall' voters across the North and Midlands it lost at the last election.