Sunday 17 December 2017

Corbyn faces new backlash over his 'revenge reshuffle'

Jeremy Corbyn at his London home yesterday
Jeremy Corbyn at his London home yesterday

Sam Lister London

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ejected another senior figure from his top team late last night with Europe spokesman Pat McFadden losing his job for "disloyalty".

The leader's reshuffle claimed its second victim after more than 30 hours of apparently bitter internal battling over the shape of the shadow cabinet.

Earlier, Michael Dugher announced he had been sacked from the culture brief, with uncertainty still surrounding the fates of shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn and shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle.

Mr Corbyn is facing a backlash yesterday over his so-called revenge reshuffle after a wave of senior figures spoke out.

Michael Dugher announced he had been "sacked" from the post of shadow culture secretary as part of the Labour leader's shake-up of the shadow Cabinet. But Mr Corbyn's decision to remove the Barnsley East MP, a close ally of former prime minister Gordon Brown, resulted in MPs expressing their dismay at the move.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson led the praise for the ousted frontbencher.

He said: "Michael Dugher is a rare politician - a talented working-class MP who hasn't lost his strong Yorkshire roots. Politicians with his ability and commitment can make a difference in any role. Labour's loss in the shadow cabinet will be compensated by Michael's free thought on the backbenches."

Gloria De Piero, shadow minister for young people, said: "In over 20 years of friendship with Michael, I have witnessed his tireless commitment and determination to campaign for a Labour government and I know that will continue from the back benches. But it's always sad to lose someone from an ordinary background from the shadow cabinet."

Luciana Berger, shadow minister for mental health, tweeted: "Sorry @MichaelDugher leaving the shadow cabinet. One of @UKLabour's best campaigners who's worked hard to widen access to the arts and sport."

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Vernon Coaker wrote: "Really sorry to see @MichaelDugher leave Shad Cab. He will be missed! He will be just as ferocious attacking the Tories from the b/benches."

Fellow Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis, who is widely tipped as a future party leader, wrote: "Sad to see this. @MichaelDugher is a highly effective and authentic voice for working people and a great champion for #Labour."

Jon Ashworth, shadow minister without portfolio, said: "I've been mates with @MichaelDugher since I was 16. Sorry to hear this news. I know he will continue to campaign hard for the party he loves."

Graham Jones, an MP in Lancashire, tweeted: "With the sacking of Dugher, traditional working-class Labour is dying."

But Bassetlaw MP John Mann tweeted: "All this guff about @MichaelDugher. He's a mate of mine. But Corbyn won. It's politics."

Mr Dugher voted in favour of UK military action in Syria in last month's free vote in the House of Commons. He had warned Mr Corbyn he would end up with a "politburo of seven" at the top of the party if he attempted to use a reshuffle to surround himself with allies from the Labour left.

Irish Independent

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