Jeremy Corbyn’s reshuffle is a clear show of intent. Having won re-election as Labour leader, Corbyn is shoring up his authority and sending out a message to critics by ousting some of those who may have helped placate the Parliamentary Labour party. Unsurprisingly, his ongoing reshuffle isn’t going down well with everyone. Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop had this to say about the changes at the top:
Clear Corbyn wants submission not unity. Ignoring wishes of the PLP and just sacking and appointing regardless. #reshuffle
— Tom Blenkinsop (@TomBlenkinsop) October 6, 2016
Labour MP Barry Sheerman also appeared to suggest he thought Corbyn was asserting his power rather than reaching out with his reshuffle:
Submission not unity? @BBCr4today
— Barry Sheerman (@BarrySheerman) October 7, 2016
But while there were Labour MPs left unhappy with the reshuffle, not many chose to stick their heads above the parapet and openly criticise Corbyn. Instead, most of the attacks, such as this one from an unnamed MP, who told the Guardian that the Labour leader had ‘gone for control, and a straight power grab’, were off the record. It seems Corbyn’s resounding re-election has muted the attacks. At least for the time being.
Those who benefited from the reshuffle, including newly-appointed shadow Welsh secretary Jo Smith were, unsurprisingly, full of praise for Corbyn. Smith – who pointed out that she backed her namesake, rather than Corbyn, in the leadership election – said that the Labour leader was clearly trying to reach out with the reshuffle. She told Today:
Well if you look at the appointments he made yesterday, I didn’t support Jeremy in the leadership election, neither did Nia Griffith, neither did Kier Starmer and I don’t think Sarah Champion did either, so he has made appointments to his shadow cabinet from the opposing part of the leadership campaign.
But Smith was somewhat shorter on words when asked about why the big jobs in the shadow cabinet had all gone to Corbyn-backers. When asked about this, she said simply:
You can listen to the full audio here:
Others, including Labour’s Clive Lewis, took a more light-hearted approach to being reshuffled:
Looks like I need a new video…. https://t.co/ZR2ilgbgKT
— Clive Lewis MP (@labourlewis) October 6, 2016
And Corbyn critic Jamie Reed, who has previously accused the Labour leader of ‘poisoning’ the party, was sarcastic about his prospects of getting a new job in the re-shuffle:
Please ring, please ring, please ring… pic.twitter.com/LcVHoT4CAO
— Jamie Reed (@jreedmp) October 6, 2016
While other Corbyn critics, such as Jess Phillips, took a more optimistic view of the changes to the shadow cabinet, pointing out how a number of key jobs had been taken by women:
Home now and catching up, glad all women so far, let’s keep it up so all paid positions aren’t men please.
— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) October 6, 2016
With Corbyn’s reshuffle expected to continue throughout the day, we’ll bring you all the latest reactions from Labour MPs as we get them on Coffee House.