agendaNi reviews the change of personnel in Labour’s top team.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has defended his widely ridiculed frontbench reshuffle saying the appointments have made his party “stronger, more diverse and more coherent.”
The reshuffle took place in January but with members of Corbyn’s frontbench resigning as the reshuffle unfolded the reshuffle was not completed until the
12 January. Kevan Jones, Jonathan Reynolds and Stephen Doughty (who resigned live on television) resigned in protest at the sacking of shadow cabinet members who were at odds with Corbyn.
Jones quit his defence spokesman role over the issue of Trident after Corbyn replaced pro-nuclear weapons MP Maria Eagle with Emily Thornberry, a woman who is known to favour unilateral nuclear disarmament. Shadow Transport Minister, Jonathan Reynolds and shadow Foreign Minister Doughty quit over the sacking of shadow Europe Minister Pat McFadden.
Speaking about his decision to shuffle the pack and attempting to draw a line under it, the Labour leader said: “A reshuffle is never easy. There is never a good time to do it. We have a shadow cabinet that is strong. We have team which is strong.
“We have widened the shadow cabinet to represent the diversity of the country and the Parliamentary Labour Party. I am happy with it. We are moving on.”
However, despite this stance from Corbyn, Lord Mandelson has claimed this reshuffle has done little other than make the party even less likely to win a general election. “In this position (the Labour party) is incapable of winning the next general election in 2020,” he said. “It is too far behind, too far out of touch and too wide of the electoral mainstream to catch up and stand any realistic chance of replacing the Conservatives, however unpopular they will be in four years time.
“Corbyn’s new year reshuffle should be seen in this context. It takes Labour even further away from any prospect of winning a general election.”