Three Labour MPs resign from Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench
THREE MPs quit Labour’s front bench team yesterday in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of his drawn-out reshuffle.
Mr Corbyn’s attempts to appoint a new team descended into farce when he was hit by three quick-fire resignations, including one on live television.
Kevan Jones, Jonathan Reynolds and Stephen Doughty resigned as shadow ministers after the Labour leader sacked two “disloyal” senior figures and promoted an opponent of Trident to his team.
Both Mr Reynolds and Mr Doughty quit over the sacking of the shadow Europe minister Pat McFadden.
Mr Corbyn fired Mr McFadden over “disloyalty” after he appeared to criticise his stance on the Paris terrorist attacks.
Shadow defence minister Kevan Jones left his role after Mr Corbyn appointed the unilateralist Emily Thornberry as shadow defence secretary at the expense of the pro-nuclear weapons MP Maria Eagle.
Ms Thornberry’s promotion was interpreted as a sign Mr Corbyn intends to renew his efforts to bring Labour round to an anti-nuclear stance.
The Labour leader did not move Hilary Benn from shadow foreign secretary despite their high-profile clash over Syria air strikes.
But the leader’s allies said they had secured an “agreement” from Mr Benn there would be no repeat of the air strikes situation, where he spoke in the Commons opposing the leader’s position.
Mr Benn insisted he had not been gagged by the leadership.
Shadow foreign affairs minister Mr Doughty quit on live television, telling the BBC’s Daily Politics programme that he had “looked at his own conscience” and was stepping down after the leader’s office told “lies” about the reasons why Europe spokesman Mr McFadden had been dismissed.
Mr McFadden asked David Cameron to reject the view that terrorist acts were always a response or a reaction to what the West did, a view that was seen as an attack on Mr Corbyn’s position.
In his resignation letter, Mr Reynolds backed Mr McFadden. He also said he was resigning as shadow rail minister because he could not “in good conscience endorse the world view of the Stop the War Coalition”, a group closely linked to Mr Corbyn.
Meanwhile, Mr Jones criticised the decision to appoint Ms Thornberry, saying: “We have got to be credible on defence in the country and I think appointing Emily is a mistake.”
He claimed thousands of voters who cared about defence policy would be alienated and warned that Labour faced becoming a “protest party and a talking shop”.