Rachel Reeves: a crucial year ahead. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA
Luck plays a big part in politics and the shadow chancellor took full advantage of her good fortune when Keir Starmer tested positive for Covid just before the October 2021 budget. According to parliamentary tradition, the leader of the opposition responds to the chancellor’s budget speech, but Starmer’s absence meant Reeves stepped in and, by general consent, delivered a polished reply to Rishi Sunak.
No single speech, no matter how widely praised, will be enough to revive Labour’s fortunes after four successive election defeats, and 2022 will be a crucial year for the party and for Reeves. Although the government has been floundering, the message from byelections, opinion polls and focus groups is that the public still have their doubts about Labour.
The former Bank of England economist’s task as shadow chancellor is to come up with an approach to…