It seems that Jeremy Corbyn’s reshuffle has actually started for real. This is what Michael Dugher, Shadow Culture Secretary, has just tweeted:
Dugher losing his job isn’t a huge surprise given his comments on Pienaar’s Politics at the weekend. The Barnsley East MP told the programme that Corbyn would be left with a ‘politburo of seven’ if he only appointed supporters. He has been an outspoken campaigner against the Labour leader’s plans for a ‘revenge reshuffle’, perhaps having decided that it might be better to go down in a final blaze of fighting.
It will be interesting to see what the response is from Dugher’s ally Tom Watson, the party’s deputy leader. Both men have been very vocal in their criticism of Corbynite grassroots group Momentum. And given Andy Burnham also tried to persuade Corbyn to give Dugher a senior job, it undermines the Shadow Home Secretary, too.
UPDATE, 10.20am: Dugher says Corbyn specifically mentioned things he’d been writing about the reshuffle. It’s fair enough, perhaps, for a leader of a political party to expect loyalty from his Shadow Cabinet. But Corbyn never offered any loyalty to previous leaders, and did talk about ‘straight talking, honest politics’ when he took the helm.
And Watson has put out his response:
‘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 for by Michael’s free thought on the backbenches.’
It will be interesting to see what form that ‘free thought on the backbenches takes’. Being sacked will probably prove to be one of the best things that could have happened to Dugher, and Watson seems to agree.