Labour’s former shadow culture secretary has claimed he “paid a price for speaking out” after being removed from his position by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Michael Dugher had written an article questioning whether Mr Corbyn should replace MPs on the front bench who disagreed with his policy programme.
But he found himself to be the first casualty of the reshuffle, removed from his post on Tuesday before other announcements were made.
“In truth what I did in the last few days really is I chose to speak out, but I chose to speak out because, you know, I was frustrated and angry about the fact that in recent weeks we’ve seen this terrible trashing of people’s reputations,” he told Sky News in his first broadcast interview after his sacking.
“We were drowning that out over the Christmas period because of this relentless speculation against colleagues. I took a decision to speak out and I paid a price for it.”
Later in the same interview Mr Dugher, however, said the article he had written was not critical of Mr Corbyn at all and that was actually defending him.
“If you actually go back and look at that article that I wrote in the New Statesman I was making a virtue and singing the praises of Jeremy’s New Politics,” Mr Dugher said.
“I said despite all the stuff you’ve read in the newspapers: I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn is a man motivated by revenge, I didn’t think he’ll do these mass sackings as an act of revenge over Syria that we’ve read about every day, every week, for several weeks. I was defending Jeremy and I was defending the 'new politics'.”
In pictures: Jeremy Corbyn reshuffle
In pictures: Jeremy Corbyn reshuffle
1/11 Jonathan Reynolds,Shadow Railways Minister: RESIGNED
He resigned as shadow railways minister in protest at the reasons for sacking Pat McFadden
2/11 Kevan Jones, Shadow Defence Minister: RESIGNED
He resigned as a shadow defence minister who strongly supports renewal of Trident. Has spoken out against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership before and was also the centre of a row with Ken Livingstone after he said Jones “might need some psychiatric help” (Jones has previously spoken about his struggle with depression)
3/11 Stephen Doughty, Shadow Foreign Minister: RESIGNED
He quit as a shadow foreign minister in protest at the sacking of his colleague Pat McFadden as shadow Europe minister. He said he had “looked at his own conscience” and decided to step down
4/11 Pat McFadden, Shadow Europe Minister: SACKED
He was sacked as shadow Europe minister for "disloyalty" to leader Jeremy Corbyn
5/11 Pat Glass, Shadow Europe Minister: SAFE
Former junior shadow education minister Pat Glass replaced Pat McFadden as shadow Europe minister
6/11 Emily Thornberry, Shadow Defence Secretary: SAFE
She was promoted to shadow defence secretary. She is anti-Trident and therefore more in tune with Corbyn’s stance and replaces Maria Eagle, who was pro-Trident
7/11 Emma Lewell-Buck, Shadow Minister for Devolution and Local Government: SAFE
Emma Lewell-Buck was promoted to shadow minister for devolution and local government
8/11 Michael Dugher, Shadow Culture Secretary: SACKED
Outspoken critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, has been sacked as shadow culture secretary for his "incompetence and disloyalty"
9/11 Hilary Benn, Shadow Foreign Secretary: SAFE
Hilary Benn remains as shadow foreign secretary, but Corbyn’s team has insisted his role now comes with ‘new conditions’ that he must agree with Corbyn over foreign policy. Benn insists there are no ‘new conditions’ attached to his job and insisted: "I haven't been muzzled. I'm going to be carrying on doing my job exactly as before”
10/11 Maria Eagle, Shadow Culture Secretary: SAFE
Maria Eagle, moved from shadow defence to shadow culture secretary as part of Corbyn’s move to make his defence team match his anti-Trident views
11/11 Andy Burnham, Shadow Home Secretary: SAFE
Reports linked him to foreign secretary brief, but Corbyn appears to have backed down on sacking Hilary Benn. He does not see eye-to-eye with Corbyn on home affairs such as the Snooper’s charter, but removing your shadow home secretary so soon after starting would have been a dangerous move by Corbyn
Though Mr Dugher said the selection of the shadow cabinet was “entirely a matter for the leader” the article was widely interpreted as a coded warning to Mr Corbyn.
Mr Dugher also said he believed his sacking had further ramifications.
“The truth is, I think the real casualty today has been the 'new politics' that we were all promised four months ago from Jeremy,” he told the broadcaster.
The former shadow cabinet minister’s statement comes after Chris Leslie, another Labour MP and a former interim shadow chancellor, attacked Labour’s “hard left” for allegedly not tolerating dissent.
Labour’s leader met members of the shadow cabinet and other MPs for one-on-one meetings today and yesterday in a bit to change his top team.
Further changes were expected to be announced after the day's main parliamentary business had concluded.
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