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11 January 2016

Shadow attorney general Catherine McKinnell resigns from the shadow cabinet

Catherine McKinnell has become the first member of the shadow cabinet to resign from Jeremy Corbyn's frontbench.

By Stephen Bush

Catherine McKinnell, the shadow attorney general, has resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, saying that she fears that the party is going “down an increasingly negative path”. 

McKinnnell praises Corbyn as “someone who has stood by their principles over many years”, but believes she will be more able to “channel my energy constructively” from the backbenches.

In her resignation letter, she writes:

“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. I feel that I would like to channel my energy constructively, into making positive changes for my constituency.”

Three junior ministers resigned following last week’s reshuffle, but McKinnell is the most senior to go – she is the first shadow cabinet minister to step down from Corbyn’s frontbench.

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The vacancy will be tricky to fill, as it can only be taken by a qualified lawyer. Corbyn may opt to reappoint Lord Bach, who became shadow attorney general under Ed Miliband, or perhaps promote Andy Slaughter, a shadow justice minister, commonly identified with the soft left.

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Here is the full letter, taken from her website:

UPDATE 15.13

Karl Turner has been appointed shadow attorney general. He has been promoted from his position as a shadow justice minister, a role that will now need to be filled.