It’s possible, but it is just as likely that Mr Corbyn remembered Mr Brown’s tenure as chief whip and decided that he was the one to keep a fractious Labour Party in order.
Time will tell. Certainly Dame Rosie does not seem overly upset in her comments about it (so far). And more appointments are to be made over the coming days.
Perhaps Mr Corbyn has something else lined up for her?
UPDATE 9.26pm, October 6: According to the BBC’s Iain Watson, Dame Rosie did not leave her job voluntarily, and there was “some significance” to her removal.
A report on the BBC website claims: “She had been trying to get a deal agreed on shadow cabinet elections and was seen as a ‘bulwark against attempts to deselect MPs that disagreed with Mr Corbyn’.
“‘So some Labour MPs are worried that her removal will make it easier for Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters to move against his critics,’ he said.
“But he said her replacement is not a ‘classic Corbynista’, having been close to Gordon Brown, and so it could be a sign Mr Corbyn is trying to reach out to MPs to heal divisions.”
So we’re none the wiser, really.
Former Cabinet minister Nick Brown has been appointed Labour’s chief whip to replace Rosie Winterton.
Brown returned to the shadow Cabinet this afternoon as Jeremy Corbyn begun a long-awaited reshuffle.
Winterton lost the job she has held since 2010 following months of speculation and briefings against her from a few on the left of the party.
“I welcome Nick’s agreement to serve as chief whip to the parliamentary Labour party,” Corbyn said today.
“I would like to pay tribute to Rosie Winterton for her six years’ exceptional service as Chief Whip. She has played an outstanding role in her support for me as leader and for the Labour Party as a whole.”
Brown was a key lieutenant of former prime minister Gordon Brown, and held the role of chief whip in government for two years from 2008 but was asked to “step aside” by Ed Miliband in 2010. The Newcastle East MP also served as Agriculture Secretary for three years, which included an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001, which was so serious it prompted the postponement of the general election.
“Jeremy Corbyn has asked me to serve as chief whip to the parliamentary Labour party and I have accepted. I hope that I can bring experience and play a constructive role in providing the strongest possible opposition to this Tory Government,” Nick Brown said.
Winterton, who was awarded a damehood earlier this year, said on Twitter: “It has been an honour to have served as Labour’s chief whip for the past six years under three different leaders. I would like to thank the whips and the Parliamentary Labour Party for the support they have given me. I wish Nick Brown every success in his new role.”
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