Labour leader under attack
Three shadow ministers quit over Corbyn reshuffle
Three shadow ministers have resigned following Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’ reshuffle.
Jonathan Reynolds, the shadow rail minister, resigned this morning, followed by shadow foreign affairs minister Stephen Doughty, who had earlier expressed his anger over the way Europe spokesman Pat McFadden was dismissed.
Armed forces minister Kevan Jones resigned at lunchtime today because of the party’s support for unilateral nuclear disarmament.
Their resignations followed Mr Corbyn’s decision to sack Shadow Culture Secretary Michael Dugher and Europe spokesman Mr McFadden which proved unpopular with the moderate wing.
Maria Eagle, a supporter of Trident, was replaced as Shadow Defence Secretary by Emily Thornberry. Ms Eagle was moved to replace Mr Dugher.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, who was expected to be sacked over his support for bombing in Syria, survived after Mr Corbyn learned of a threat of full-scale rebellion among his fellow shadow ministers. In return for keeping his job Mr Benn has agreed not to challenge the leader in public.
Soon after Mr Dugher confirmed he had been sacked, nine shadow ministers and numerous other Labour MPs criticised the decision and threw their support behind him.
Mr McFadden, a Blairite, was said to have been sacked for “disloyalty” over the party’s stand on ISIS. Ian Austin described his dismissal as “vindictive and stupid”. Angela Smith said it smacked of “insecurity and intolerance.”
The Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson described Mr Corbyn’s decision to remove a pro-Trident MP from the shadow defence brief as proof that he cannot be trusted on national security.
Ms Davidson said it paved the way for Labour to abandon its longheld support for the west of Scotland base, which guarantees thousands of jobs and ensures Britain has a nuclear deterrent.
Late last year, all but one of Scottish Labour’s MSPs also voted to scrap Trident.
Ms Davidson said: “Maintaining the ultimate insurance policy of a strategic nuclear deterrent has been the cornerstone of Britain’s defences for decades and the mainstream Labour position for more than a quarter of a century. Jeremy Corbyn is now preparing to break that consensus.
“The world is more – not less – dangerous than when the Trident system was established and the UK needs to be able to meet the defence needs of today, not weaken itself in front of the world.
“Quite simply, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party is putting our national defences at risk and threatening thousands of Scottish jobs that depend on the Faslane base.”