Jeremy Corbyn reshuffle: Michael Dugher sacked as Shadow Culture Secretary

Current Shadow Defence Secretary Maria Eagle is expected to replace Michael Dugher, who revealed he had been sacked on Twitter 

Jeremy Corbyn has sacked Michael Dugher as Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport as he completes the reshuffle of his frontbench team. 

Mr Dugher had been expected to be moved on after publicly criticising the Labour leader on several occasions since September. 

He is the first victim of Mr Corbyn's reshuffle, which is aimed at creating a more united Shadow Cabinet and to focus media attention away from the party's internal divisions and onto policy matters. 

Mr Dugher revealed the news himself on Twitter and said Mr Corbyn had told him he "didn't like things I'd been writing", linking to an article he wrote for the New Statesman last week in which he warned the Labour leader against conducting a "revenge reshuffle"

As recently as Sunday Mr Dugher warned Mr Corbyn not to turn Labour into "a religious cult", saying previous Labour leaders he had worked with had avoided going "down the path of big reshuffles”.

“They do try and hold the party together, they do recognise that the Labour party is a broad church, not a religious cult, that you need people of different backgrounds and try and get the best possible talents," he told Radio 5 Live's Piennar's Politics. 

A host of Shadow Cabinet ministers have come out to praise Mr Dugher and mourn his departure.

Deputy leader Tom Watson, Home Secretary Andy Burnham and fellow shadow ministers Gloria de Piero, Luciana Berger, Lucy Powell, Vernon Coaker, Chris Bryant, Ian Murray and Jon Ashworth have all taken to Twitter to defend Mr Dugher.

Responding to the news, Mr Watson 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."

They were joined by many backbench Labour MPs, who criticised Mr Corbyn's decision to remove Mr Dugher and said he was the kind of figure that was so important for the party's appeal in northern England.

Hilary Benn, the Shadow Foreign Secretary was widely tipped to be sacked too after his opposition to Mr Corbyn's stance on bombing Syria, but Mr Corbyn appears to have backed down from removing him. 

But Maria Eagle is expected to be moved on from her role as Shadow Defence Secretary after publicly disagreeing with Mr Corbyn over his firm opposition to renewing Trident. 

Follow all the latest updates on the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle here

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