Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was forced to make new appointments to his shadow cabinet after a spate of resignations yesterday (June 26) – and seems to have taken the opportunity to sweep away the ex-spads and former researchers.
For example, Clive Lewis, the new shadow defence secretary, is an Afghan War veteran.
The shadow Northern Ireland secretary, David Anderson, was a coal miner for 25 years.
The shadow education secretary, Pat Glass, worked in education for people with special needs.
Kate Osamor, shadow international development secretary, worked in a GP practice.
Shadow environment, food and rural affairs secretary Rachel Maskell worked in the NHS for 20 years.
Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, worked as a solicitor.
And Andy McDonald, shadow transport secretary, worked as a lawyer.
Loyalists Emily Thornberry and Diane Abbott have been promoted – to shadow foreign secretary and shadow health secretary respectively.
That just leaves Cat Smith, newly appointed to shadow voter engagement and youth affairs – Labour’s youngest MP. She doesn’t have the real-world pedigree of the others, but is a Corbyn loyalist who worked for him before becoming an MP.
She was among the 36 MPs who nominated him for the leadership and the 14 who actually supported his bid, following that nomination, so her appointment is understandable.
Now let’s look at the resignations and dismissal. This can only be a partial list as some straggling backstabbers are still resigning:
Hilary Benn had been a policy researcher for two trade unions.
Heidi Alexander – research for Joan Ruddock.
Gloria de Piero – TV researcher and journalist.
Lilian Greenwood – worked for UNISON.
Lucy Powell – assistant to Beverley Hughes MP.
Kerry McCarthy – volunteer in Labour’s legal department.
Seema Malhotra – advisor for Liam Byrne MP and Ian Austin MP.
Karl Turner – brief careers as a self-employed antiques dealer and barrister.
Chris Bryant – former priest and member of the Conservative Party.
Lord Falconer – barrister and friend of Tony Blair.
In fairness, Ian Murray has worked in a fish and chip shop, set up a pizza delivery service, worked for Royal Blind in pensions management and helped build an online TV station (which failed). Then he started an event management business.
And Vernon Coaker was a teacher.
So far we have:- 19 shadow cabinet departures – 16 resignations, one sacking (Hilary Benn), two informal departures (Baroness Smith and Lord Bassam have said they will not serve under Jeremy Corbyn)
– eight Parliamentary Private Secretaries (Colleen Fletcher, DEFRA; Neil Coyle, Commons; Jess Phillips, Education; Karin Smyth, Health; Ruth Smeeth, Northern Ireland & Scotland; Chris Matherson, Justice; Matthew Pennycock, Housing; Stephen Kinnock, Business)
– Nine shadow ministers
In a nutshell, more than half of the shadow cabinet has now quit.
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