Internal unrest over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party has flared up again, with the resignation of a shadow cabinet minister and a warning that unions will fight any attempt to adopt a unilateralist policy on Trident.
Shadow attorney general Catherine McKinnell quit her frontbench role with a warning to Mr Corbyn that he was taking the party “down an increasingly negative path”.
And GMB leader Sir Paul Kenny said the Labour leader was facing a “shock” if he tried to ditch the renewal of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, predicting unions would not “go quietly into the night” if members’ jobs were put at risk.
Ms McKinnell’s resignation is the fourth from the Opposition leader’s frontbench team in the wake of a contentious reshuffle which saw his left-wing supporters replace more moderate MPs and Trident opponent Emily Thornberry appointed shadow defence secretary in place of pro-renewal Maria Eagle.
In a letter to Mr Corbyn, the former employment solicitor, who represents Newcastle North, told him she had “shared your optimism for the ‘new kind of politics’ you spoke so compellingly about”.
But she added: “However, as events have unfolded over recent weeks, my concerns about the direction and internal conflict within the Labour Party have only grown and I fear this is taking us down an increasingly negative path.”
Ms McKinnell was replaced as shadow attorney general by Hull East MP Karl Turner who is promoted from shadow solicitor general.
Meanwhile, Dewsbury MP Paula Sheriff quit as aide to shadow communities secretary Jon Trickett, who was one of the 35 MPs who nominated Mr Corbyn for the leadership.
Ms Sheriff said she had stepped down as Mr Trickett’s parliamentary private secretary “to focus on my campaign to defend Dewsbury & District [Hospital] from Tory cuts and my work on the health select committee”.
Sir Paul said there were tens of thousands of jobs at around 50 sites in the UK that depended on defence contracts.