Jeremy Corbyn and the longest reshuffle in history

Jeremy Corbyn's claims to a strong shadow cabinet have been undermined by high-profile resignations.


Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet isn't looking so strong after all

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attempted to draw a line under the "longest reshuffle in history" during an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, claiming he was in chargeof a "strong" shadow cabinet, only to see his shadowattorney-general Catherine McKinnell quit just hours later. There is mounting frustration among those who had signedup to Corbyn's promised "pluralist" leadership, saysJim Pickard in the FT. Last week Corbyn "axed" two MPs for voicing their opinions, prompting three junior members of Labour's frontbench team to resign.

His Today interview won't have helped matters, says Matt Dathan in The Independent. During the interview the "life-long unilateralist" also said he was considering how to change the pro-Trident policy and pledged to give Labour members a "big say" in the matter, risking "deeper splits" with MPs and his shadow cabinet. Although Corbyn swapped pro-Trident defencesecretary Maria Eagle with anti-Trident Emily Thornberry last week, most of his top team remain in favour of renewing Britain's fleet of Trident ballistic missile submarines.

Three shadow cabinet ministers, Lord Falconer, Owen Smith and Lucy Powell, have refused to rule out resigning if the party changes its policy. Corbyn faces opposition from his MPs and from two of the three biggest Labour-affiliated unions, Unite and GMB, which support Trident renewal due to the thousands of jobs that rely on it.

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Allowing the National Executive Committee to decide whether to introduce rules handing power to party members "would downgrade the role of the party conference and the shadow cabinet", say Rowena Mason and Nicholas Watt in The Guardian. Senior shadow ministers insist that any changes to the way policy is made can't happen without the permission of conference, which won't take place until September, says Paul Waugh in The Huffington Post. The government is considering a vote on Trident as early as April.

Emily Hohler

Emily has extensive experience in the world of journalism. She has worked on MoneyWeek for more than 20 years as a former assistant editor and writer. Emily has previously worked on titles including The Times as a Deputy Features Editor, Commissioning Editor at The Independent Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, and she spent three years at women's lifestyle magazine Marie Claire as a features writer for three years, early on in her career. 

On MoneyWeek, Emily’s coverage includes Brexit and global markets such as Russia and China. Aside from her writing, Emily is a Nutritional Therapist and she runs her own business called Root Branch Nutrition in Oxfordshire, where she offers consultations and workshops on nutrition and health.