Labour Leadership Accused Of Dishonesty After 'Revenge Reshuffle'

Labour Leadership Accused Of Dishonesty After 'Revenge Reshuffle'

The latest Labour frontbencher to quit over Jeremy Corbyn's so-called "revenge reshuffle" has accused the party leadership of dishonesty and warned that voters would be dismayed by the changes.

Kevan Jones claimed his former boss Maria Eagle, a supporter of Trident, had been moved from the defence brief against her will despite briefings that taking on the shadow culture secretary role was her "dream".

The former shadow defence spokesman said there had been "nothing straightforward or honest" about the way the reshuffle had been carried out and claimed Labour was being run in a "very top-down" manner.

Mr Corbyn was hit with three quick-fire resignations from his front bench after he sacked two "disloyal" senior figures and promoted a Trident opponent in a reshuffle that took more than 30 hours.

Mr Jones followed Jonathan Reynolds and Stephen Doughty in walking out, citing differences with the Labour leader on key policy issues and the treatment of their colleagues.

The North Durham MP told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme: "Jeremy was elected with the strapline 'straight talking, honest politics'. There has been nothing straightforward or honest about what's gone on over the last 48 hours.

"Maria, it's now being briefed that this was her dream job and she wanted to do it. That is not the case. She did not want to move. She made that point very clear.

"Both Maria and myself were appointed when Jeremy was elected. He knew our views on the nuclear deterrent."

Mr Jones said he "personally got on very well" with Mr Corbyn but believed "the people around him are advising him very badly".

"If you agree with the leader, that's fine, if you don't then there is no entering into discussions," he added.

The MP, a minister under Gordon Brown, said Tom Watson believed that appointing Emily Thornberry as shadow defence secretary was a mistake - something the deputy leader denied on Twitter.

"We have got to be credible on defence in the country and I think appointing Emily is a mistake," Mr Jones said. "So did Tom Watson."

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".

"The idea that our defence policy is being controlled by a north London part of the party will be looked on in dismay by many people who actually have a deep, passionate care about defence," he added.

Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen Doughty quit as shadow foreign affairs minister live on 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 Pat McFadden had been dismissed.

Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds 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.

Speculation is growing that more frontbenchers could choose to leave in the wake of the shake-up, which also saw Michael Dugher ejected from the culture brief for "incompetence" and "disloyalty".

Ms Eagle praised Mr Jones for his "outstanding contribution to supporting and protecting our armed forces" and said it was a "privilege to work" with him.


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