Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of the Labour party, has announced his new shadow cabinet with half of the posts, including health and education, going to women. Andy Burnham, a rival during the leadership campaign, is shadow home secretary. Corbyn’s campaign manager, John Mcdonell, as shadow chancellor. Hilary Benn retains her post as shadow foreign secreatary.
Other appointments included:
- Lisa Nandy – shadow energy secretary
- Rosie Winterton – continues as chief whip
- Seema Malhotra – shadow chief secretary to the Treasury
- Lucy Powell – shadow education secretary
- Lord Falconer – continues as shadow justice secretary
- Lewisham MP Heidi Alexander – shadow health secretary
- Diane Abbott – shadow international development secretary
- Shadow Northern Ireland secretary – Vernon Coaker
- Ian Murray – continues as shadow Scottish secretary
Other rivals, including Yvette Cooper, stated that they had refused to serve in the shadow cabinet.
Labour in danger of harming themselves?
Corbyn’s resounding victory in the leadership contest does not appear to have been reflected in the Labour parliamentary bloc’s reaction to his appointments. Indeed despite his victory, a few Labour MPs appear to have taken the opportunity to criticise Corbyn’s appointments and hint that they do not agree with that the leadership is right to drive Labour forward. This has demonstrated a clear disconnect between the grass roots and the parliamentary bloc which threatens to cause upheaval within the party before the next general election.
Lack of women?
Initial media reaction seemed to focus on the lack of women in the ‘front line’ positions with former shadow Scottish secretary stating:
Corbyn’s supporters rallied, citing that over half of the shadow cabinet positions had gone to women with John Mcdonnell emphasising that the health and education portfolios were more important than the traditional “great offices of state”.