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Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet: runners and riders

14 August 2015

5:35 PM

14 August 2015

5:35 PM

Who could Jeremy Corbyn invite into his shadow cabinet if elected Labour leader? Some frontbenchers are suggesting today that he could find two thirds of his shadow ministerial positions unfilled as MPs refuse to serve under his leadership. But who might say yes to an offer from the veteran socialist. These are the runners and riders who might just be prepared to join Corbyn’s inner circle:

Golden Oldies

Dennis Skinner MP for Bolsover

One of Corbyn’s earliest backers, the Beast of Bolsover is also a long-serving member of Labour’s awkward squad. Perhaps he could help out by adding jokes to Corbyn’s dry speeches: his annual Queen’s Speech gags will come in handy.

Suggested position: Deputy Prime Minister

(Mar)X Factor: 5/5

Grahame Morris MP for Easington

A key Corbyn supporter, the MP for Easington is keen to hail Corbyn’s ‘incredible political instinct’. Earlier in the year he suggested that Iain Duncan Smith should ‘learn to budget before lecturing others’ after the Work and Pensions Secretary failed to pay off his IPSA card. Hopefully, he’ll have the fiscal discipline to apply this maxim to Corbyn’s economic policies.

Suggested position: Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

(Mar)X factor: 4/5

Diane Abbott MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington

Abbott seems keen to stress her Corbyn links in order to boost a flagging mayoral campaign – and if she doesn’t sweep London, then a Shadow Cabinet position might be a nice back-up plan. As she announced when asked if prepared to serve in a Corbyn Cabinet: ‘ambition is a thing in Parliament’. Though Abbott will no doubt continue in her unofficial role as Shadow Minister for Twitter, perhaps her comment that ‘white people love playing divide and rule’ could lead to a position as Minister for Communities.

Suggested position: Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

(Mar)X factor: 5/5

John McDonnell MP for Hayes and Harlington

The veteran MP ‘doesn’t believe in leaders’, in fact in a joint interview with Corbyn earlier this year he declared ‘we believe that leaders should be following the masses’.  Still, not believing in leadership isn’t stopping McDonnell from trying to ensure discipline and loyalty to the Corbyn campaign, describing dissension within the Labour Party as a ‘little bit of over-excitement’. Corbyn’s closest political ally may be able to sympathise with potential rebels, however, the veteran MP claimed he would ‘swim through vomit to vote against’ the Welfare Bill. Just the man to calm the ‘over-excitement’.

Suggested position: Chief Whip

(Mar)X factor: 5/5

Gerald Kaufman MP for Manchester Gorton

Known for his outspoken views, Kaufman described English votes for English laws as ‘racist’. This might rule him out of shadowing any home positions, but fortunately his foreign policy position is close to Corbyn’s. Kaufman’s last experience as a Shadow Minister didn’t end brilliantly: the Father of the House famously described Foot’s 1983 Manifesto as the ‘longest suicide note in history’ driven by a ‘strategy to lose as many votes as possible’. Perhaps a little more diplomacy might be needed when the veteran left-wing MP returns to Cabinet.

Suggested position: Shadow Foreign Secretary

(Mar)X factor: 4/5

Jon Trickett MP for Hemsworth

Former PPS to Gordon Brown and one of Miliband’s most trusted advisers, the Deputy Chairman of the Labour Party is one of Corbyn’s most powerful backers. Lauding Corbyn as a ‘new type of leader’, rather than a good Westminster performer, Trickett’s defence of his candidate does sound eerily similar to those made for Miliband.


Suggested position: Shadow Minister for the Movement

(Mar)X factor: 4/5

Newbies

Dawn Butler MP for Brent Central

A Corbyn backer who would like Burnham to win, Dawn Butler famously asked Sky News presenter Kay Burley, ‘What is wrong with you?’ for repeatedly questioning this apparently logical position.

Suggested position: Shadow Minister for Sport

(Mar)X Factor: 3/5

Richard Burgon MP for Leeds East

The former trade union lawyer and heavy-metal enthusiast has claimed ‘there is nothing “hard left” about Jeremy’s vision of an economy’ and that, in fact, Corbyn holds ‘economic credibility’.

Suggested Position: Shadow Chancellor

(Mar)X Factor: 5/5

Cat Smith – MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood

Prior to being elected in 2015, Ms Smith worked in Jeremy’s office. Attacking MPs dissenting from Corbyn-mania, the MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood wrote ‘as for those who say they wouldn’t serve in a Jeremy Corbyn cabinet…. It looks arrogant to presume he’d ask you to.’ We’re sure Smith would make no such arrogant presumption herself.

Suggested position: Shadow Leader of the House

(Mar)X factor: 4/5

Imran Hussain MP for Bradford East

Roundly beaten by George Galloway in the 2012 by-election for Bradford West, the Bradford East MP now plays a key role in coordinating Corbyn’s political strategy. Hussain, like most MPs, describes himself as a defender of the community and promoter of the NHS. But what happens if Corbyn brings Galloway back into the Labour fold?

Suggested position: Shadow Secretary of State for Health

(Mar)X factor: 4/5

Kate Osamor MP for Edmonton

Osamor’s mother faced being vetoed by Kinnock for being too left-wing, but Ed Miliband had no such qualms. Jeremy’s leadership can only bode well for the next generation. Both mother and daughter are Corbyn fans – perhaps a job share?

Suggested position: Shadow Minister for Families

(Mar)X factor: 4/5

Clive Lewis MP for Norwich South

Elected in 2015, the former BBC politics presenter is a keen Corbyn backer. In 2009 Lewis served in Afghanistan as an Army Reserve. While he has yet to clarify his approach to armed forces or nuclear disarmament, out of the Corbyn backers, Lewis appears the most interested in defence.

Suggested Position: Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

(Mar)X factor: 5/5

Hard Sells

Margaret Beckett MP for Derby South  

Despite being perhaps the best-qualified of MPs to nominate Corbyn, describing herself as ‘moron’ for doing so may have undermined the former Foreign Secretary’s chances of a return to the Shadow Cabinet.

Suggested position: Shadow Minister for Caravans

(Mar)X Factor: 1/5

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham

Known as a thinker of the left, Cruddas led Ed Milliband’s policy review and recently released his report into why Labour lost the election, which made uncomfortable reading for Corbynites. Despite nominating Corbyn, Cruddas acknowledges that ‘we can seek to change the views of the public, but it’s best not to ignore him’.

Suggested Position: Shadow Secretary of State for Business – it has been difficult to fill.

(Mar)X factor: 2/5

Andy Burnham MP for Leigh

The odds-on favourite declared himself ‘open’ to offering Jeremy Corbyn a shadow cabinet position. Aides were quick to dismiss this as a ‘joke’, though it’s hard to see it as one of flip-flop Burnham’s funniest moments. Perhaps the favour could be returned?

Suggested position: Shadow Home Secretary

(Mar)X factor: changeable.

David Lammy MP for Tottenham

Well liked, the former Minister for Higher Education and London Mayoral candidate entered Parliament aged just 27 billed as the ‘black Blair’. Though yet to meet those dizzy heights, his analysis of the 2011 London riots, Out of the Ashes, cemented the Harvard graduate’s reputation. Having nominated Corbyn and been amongst the Welfare Bill rebels, Lammy has yet to commit to any candidate. Could it be worth Corbyn giving him a call?

Suggested position: Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary

(Mar)X factor: 3/5

Tim Loughton MP for Shoreham

So dedicated was the former Tory Children’s Minister to the Corbyn campaign that he attempted to join the Labour party. At least when Labourites accuse this fellow member of being a Tory, they’re onto something.

Suggested position: Shadow Minister for Education

(Mar)X factor: 0/5


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