Prime Minister mocks Angela Rayner over new shadow cabinet titles

Boris Johnson has lampooned Sir Keir Starmer over his bungled reshuffle and joked his deputy will be “hungrier” for more power.

Angela Rayner was given greater authority within the shadow cabinet following intense criticism of Labour leader Sir Keir’s initial move to strip her of key roles as party chairwoman and campaign co-ordinator following the elections.

But Prime Minister Mr Johnson taunted Ms Rayner over her new jobs.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Johnson praised his Conservative colleague Katherine Fletcher for seconding a motion linked to the Queen’s Speech before noting the South Ribble MP was formerly a safari guide.

Mr Johnson went on: “She knows in any pride of lions, it is the male who tends to occupy the position of titular, of nominal authority, but the most dangerous beast, the prize hunter of the pack is in fact the lioness.”

One MP shouted “she’s behind you” with Conservative former prime minister Theresa May positioned behind Mr Johnson.

Queen’s speech 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer walk through the Central Lobby on the way to the House of Lords to listen to the Queen’s Speech (PA)

The Prime Minister added: “I’m sure (Sir Keir) bears this in mind as he contemplates the member, his friend (Ms Rayner) – the deputy leader, the shadow first secretary of state, the shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and shadow secretary of state for the future of work – though the more titles he feeds her, the hungrier I fear she is likely to become.”

Ms Rayner then jokingly gestured to Mr Johnson that she was watching him.

She later wrote on Twitter: “The only title I’m hungry for, @BorisJohnson, is Deputy Prime Minister.”

Earlier, Sir Keir congratulated Conservative former minister Shailesh Vara for opening the debate on the Queen’s Speech and joked: “I am also told he has a black belt in taekwondo so I now know who to call upon at the next shadow cabinet meeting.”