Labour reshuffle live: Jeremy Corbyn sacks Michael Dugher as Hilary Benn expected to keep job in reshuffle branded 'petty'

Key figures remain under threat, with Maria Eagle expected to be moved on from her role as Shadow Defence Secretary

Matt Dathan,Jon Stone
Tuesday 05 January 2016 09:09 GMT
Hilary Benn is believed to have survived attempts to oust him as Shadow Foreign Secretary
Hilary Benn is believed to have survived attempts to oust him as Shadow Foreign Secretary (Rex)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Jeremy Corbyn has sacked Michael Dugher as Shadow Culture minister as he appeared to pull back from sacking Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn in a reshuffle that has been branded "petty and divisive" by his own frontbench. The party's left wing was accused by figures on its right of being "intolerant of dissent".

It comes as:

The Labour leader held one-to-one meetings with key figures in his Commons office on Monday amid reports that he was planning to remove internal critics who have humiliated Mr Corbyn on key issues that divide the party, such as bombing Syria and Trident.

Sacked Shadow Culture minister Michael Dugher branded it a "revenge reshuffle" - and he became the first victim when he announced on Twitter that he had been sacked by Mr Corbyn.

After an hour-long meeting with Mr Benn on Monday, Mr Corbyn has reportedly backed down from removing him as Shadow Foreign Secretary, while Shadow Defence Secretary Maria Eagle - another top figure under threat - is expected to be moved rather than sacked.

She has publicly criticised Mr Corbyn over his strong opposition to renewing Trident and is expected to be moved to a job where she shares more in common with the leadership.

Maria Eagle, shadow Defence Secretary, is expected to be moved
Maria Eagle, shadow Defence Secretary, is expected to be moved (EPA)

Dame Rosie Winterton, the chief whip, is also expected to survive, following warnings that sacking top figures just four months after becoming Labour leader would trigger a spate of resignations.

But all eyes will be on whether Mr Corbyn takes notice of warnings over the lack of women in the top five jobs in the Shadow Cabinet.

He was accused of "low-level, non-violent misogyny" by Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley.

In an interview on Newsnight she claimed that left-wing feminists had acceptedthe lack of women appointed to shadow the 'great offices of state' (Chancellor, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary) "because it's Jeremy doing it".

Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, accused Jeremy Corbyn of 'low-level misogyny'
Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, accused Jeremy Corbyn of 'low-level misogyny'

Harriet Harman, the former deputy Labour leader who served as temporary leader over the summer, called for a change in party rules to guarantee either the party's leader or deputy leader was female.

Mr Corbyn is expected to complete the reshuffle by Tuesday lunchtime. It comes after a fortnight of speculation and criticism from Mr Corbyn's own shadow ministers that he had failed to kill rumours that had created instability, with figures such as Mr Benn and Ms Eagle in the dark about their futures.

Pat McFadden, the shadow Europe minister who effectively serves as Mr Benn's deputy in the shadow foreign team, told the BBC that Mr Corbyn was guilty of overseeing a reshuffle that was "more petty and divisive than open and pluralist politics."

Internal critics of Mr Corbyn could all be replaced by Corbynists or MPs who accept his huge mandate from the party’s grassroots.

Here’s who may get a promotion in the reshuffle:

Diane Abbott (shadow International Development Secretary): Veteran MP shares Corbyn’s politics, is his parliamentary neighbour and had a relationship with him. She served on the front bench under Ed Miliband but was sacked for “disloyalty”. She sent her son to a private school, which she admitted was “indefensible”.

Diane Abbott, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn
Diane Abbott, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn (Rex)

Richard Burgon (shadow City minister): New MP and Motörhead fan, among Corbyn’s most enthusiastic supporters. Had a difficult start in his portfolio, admitting he could not remember Britain’s budget deficit and was yet to meet anyone from the City of London’s financial industry.

Cat Smith (shadow minister for Women): She says: “I’m a socialist. And in no particular order I’m also a feminist, Christian, environmentalist, trade unionist, republican and proud Northerner who calls a spade and spade.”

Emily Thornberry (shadow Employment minister): Corbyn brought his fellow Islington MP back to the front bench after she resigned over a “snobby” picture she posted of a house bedecked with England flags. Voted for Yvette Cooper as leader.

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