Jeremy Corbyn brings critics in from cold with 20 new appointments to Labour shadow front bench

Leader hands jobs to some critics as well as a number of allies

Benjamin Kentish@BenKentish
Monday 03 July 2017 17:53
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The 20 new appointments to Labour's front bench

Jeremy Corbyn has made a raft of appointments to Labour's front bench as he seeks to unite the party after cementing his position as leader.

The Labour leader has given jobs to 20 MPs, including a number that have been openly critical of his leadership.

Among those to be brought back into the fold are former Shadow Young People Secretary Gloria de Piero, who was the second MP to resign from the Shadow Cabinet last June citing concerns about Mr Corbyn's leadership.

​Roberta Blackman-Woods, the former housing minister, has been given a job in the International Development team. Resigning as a minister last year, Ms Blackman-Woods told Mr Corbyn: "I no longer have confidence in you as a leader who can display the attributes listed above and enable us to win a general election.”

“You could, and should, have shown more decisive and visionary leadership and your failure to step down means that I must,” she added.

Karl Turner, who resigned as Shadow Attorney General last year after telling Mr Corbyn it was "increasingly clear that you do not hold the support of the Shadow Cabinet and the wider Parliamentary Labour Party", has been appointed as shadow transport minister. So, too, has Rachel Maskell, who stepped down as Shadow Environment Secretary in February in order to vote against Labour's position on Brexit.

Mr Corbyn has also handed jobs to a number of MPs elected last month – just days after they were officially sworn in. His staunch ally Chris Williamson, who was re-elected as MP for Derby North, is appointed to the Home Affairs team led by Diane Abbott. He is joined by Nick Thomas Symonds, who resigned as shadow pensions minister last June after saying he had “lost confidence in [Mr Corbyn's] ability to unite the party and take on the Tories”.

Other new MPs given frontbench jobs include Paul Sweeney, who won the Glasgow North East seat from the SNP and becomes Shadow Scotland Minister. Anneliese Dodds, the newly elected Oxford East MP, joins John McDonnell's shadow Treasury team.

Former Manchester Mayor Tony Lloyd, now the MP for Rochdale, is appointed to the shadow housing team alongside Grimsby MP Melanie Onn, who previously voted that she had no confidence in Mr Corbyn.

Announcing the new appointments, Mr Corbyn said: “I’m delighted to be filling Labour’s shadow front bench with a wealth of talent. Our new shadow ministers will bolster the excellent work of Labour’s shadow cabinet and departmental teams.

“These appointments are further evidence that Labour is not just the opposition – we are the government in waiting.”

The Labour leader has secured his position after defying predictions by increasing the party's vote share and number of seats at the general election.

Tom Watson, Labour's deputy leader who had previously called on Mr Corbyn to step down, has said the left-winger is "unbeatable" and could be leader for years.

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