Tuesday, 5 January 2016


JEREMY CORBYN moved to unify Labour’s top team last night by shifting members of his shadow cabinet who have caused division over crucial issues. 
Shadow culture secretary Michael Dugher, shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle and shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, were all expected to be moved after publicly clashing with the leader. 
Mr Corbyn met the trio last night before finalising his first reshuffle this morning ahead of the first meeting of Labour’s new look shadow cabinet. 
A senior Labour source told the Star the changes would leave Labour with a more “coherent” approach on international and defence issues. 
And Labour national executive member and former London mayor Ken Livingstone said they were necessary to ensure Labour presents a united front against the Tories.
“There is a problem if, as we had with the debate on Syria, our principal spokesman on that stands up at the end of the debate and puts a completely different line to the leader of the Labour Party,” he told the BBC. 
“Allowing genuine debate is one thing, but all we had was days of press coverage about splits between Jeremy Corbyn and Hilary Benn. 
“I think that’s counterproductive.”
Mr Livingstone also reminded moaning right-wingers that Labour is far more inclusive now than under Tony Blair’s leadership “when everyone had to follow a narrow line.”
Mr Benn was expected to pay the price for helping David Cameron win the vote over bombing Syria, but was likely to remain in a senior shadow cabinet role. 
A new role was also likely to be found for Ms Eagle, who’s support for Trident renewal will only become more problematic for Mr Corbyn ahead of the parliamentary vote on the issue later this year. 
Michael Dugher, who warned against a “revenge reshuffle” earlier this week, was facing a return to the back benches. 
It was less clear last night who would replace them, although Mr Corbyn has been advised to promote a woman to replace Mr Benn if he is moved. 
Supporters said his ability to make the changes reflected his growing support among MPs and within the membership. 
A source close to Mr Corbyn said: “When the original shadow cabinet was set up, it was in the context of coups being threatened immediately. 
“There were doubts as to whether a shadow cabinet could be put together at all.
“It’s now clear that the shadow cabinet he’s got isn’t even in tune with the PLP, let alone the party. He’s entitled to strengthen his own support: it’s still going to be a broad and inclusive shadow cabinet, but inclusive doesn’t mean you have to include Michael Dugher.
“And it’s not illegitimate to remove a shadow foreign secretary who speaks for a minority of both the party and the PLP.” 
The PLPand all the cabinet need to remember just how much the membership support Mr. Corbyn andthe madate he has support for get behind him
with constructive debate or get out.
Mike Knoth tun/wells clp