Will Jeremy Corbyn have a shadow cabinet by the end of the day? By 9am there have already been two departures. As Isabel said on the our Coffee House shots podcast last night, a lot of Labour MPs think the mood of the membership has shifted after the EU referendum and they think this vote of no confidence could be coming at the ideal time.
In the early hours of this morning Jeremy Corbyn sacked shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn. Benn had been calling fellow members of the shadow cabinet to ask whether they thought he should call on Corbyn to stand down as leader; and whether they would join him in resigning were he to refuse. In a statement Benn said ‘there is no confidence in our ability to win the next election, which may come much sooner than expected, if Jeremy continues as leader… In a phone call to Jeremy, I told him that for these reasons I had lost confidence in his ability to lead the party and he then dismissed me from the shadow cabinet.’
Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander resigned this morning, telling Corbyn that he lacks ‘the capacity to shape the answers our country is demanding and I believe that if we are to form the next government, a change of leadership is essential’. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says she is to be followed by ‘half the shadow cabinet’ – so we could well have a Labour leadership contest as well as a Conservative one.
11.20 Gloria de Piero, the shadow minister for young people and voter registration, has resigned too. The Guardian quotes her resignation letter to Jeremy Corbyn: ‘I have been contacted by many of my members this weekend and It is clear that a good number of them share that view and have lost faith in your leadership.’