Sir Keir Starmer has removed his chief of staff as part of a major restructuring of the Labour leader’s office as he moves the party to an “election footing”.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the party said the Labour leader held a call with staff this morning alongside the general secretary and announced plans to capitalise on promising leads over the Conservatives in recent polls.
Sir Keir is said to have told party employees that “this is not time for complacency or caution” and that long-planned changes to structures must be brought forward in light of the Conservative Party’s “implosion”.
“The government’s collapse has given us a huge chance. The instability means they could fall at any time. Because of that we need to get on an election footing straight away,” staff are said to have been told by the Labour leader.
It is believed he urged the party to “seize the opportunity we have and show the British people we are the party that can lead our country forward”.
As part of the changes, Sam White, who was appointed as chief of staff last summer, will leave his position.
Sir Keir paid tribute to Mr White, saying: “Sam has played an incredible role taking our operation to the next level. Under his leadership the team has become better and stronger.”
He said that the merger meant that running the leader’s office becomes a smaller role than Mr White signed up for “and we both agree as we’re making this change, now is the right time to go”.
Mr White said: “The next phase of the campaign needs a different structure, but we part very much as friends with the intent to work together again in the future. You’ll find no greater champion for a Starmer government than me.”
The new structure means policy and communications will move into Party HQ, reporting to general secretary David Evans.
Mr Evans is said to have made clear that no jobs are at risk as a result of the restructuring.
The acceleration of plans for the party’s reorganisation comes after Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng bowed to pressure yesterday and brought forward the publication of his financial strategy and independent economic forecasts to Halloween in another government U-turn.
Mr Kwarteng agreed to set out his medium-term fiscal plan alongside Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predictions on 31 October rather than 23 November.
Earlier this month, the chancellor backed down on his widely-criticised plans to scrap the top rate of income tax on earnings over £150,000 during the Conservative Party’s conference in Birmingham.
This was after the markets reacted badly to his tax-cutting mini-budget, with the pound sinking to a record low.
Meanwhile, as MPs return to Parliament this week, Prime Minister Liz Truss is said to be launching a charm offensive to win over Conservative MPs and to improve the party’s ratings in the polls.
Ms Truss is expected to hold policy lunches with groups of colleagues and address the 1922 committee of Conservative backbench MPs on Wednesday.
It comes amid an internal row over whether the government will decide to raise benefits in line with inflation.
Ministers have been considering whether to link an increase to earnings rather than the currently much higher measure of prices.
On Tuesday, former chancellor Sajid Javid added his voice to the growing opposition calling on the PM to ensure the PM does not deliver benefits claimants with a real-terms cut to their incomes.
Yesterday, Work and pensions minister Victoria Prentis told Sky News no decision has been made with considerations needing to be made on average wage figures on Tuesday and inflation stats on 19 October.