At the unusual time of Friday evening (when most journalists are knocking off), Jeremy Corbyn has carried out a shadow ministerial reshuffle.
The most notable move is the return of Clive Lewis to the frontbench as shadow Treasury minister (I profiled him in 2016). The former shadow defence secretary resigned over Labour’s pro-Brexit stance last year and clashed with the leader’s office over Trident renewal as shadow defence secretary (he was also viewed warily as a potential leadership rival). But by appointing Lewis, who was last month cleared by the party of alleged sexual harassment, Corbyn has rewarded one of his few original parliamentary backers and one of the left’s most energetic MPs.
The Labour leader has also promoted two allies from the new intake. Thirty-year-old Laura Pidcock, who was elected North West Durham MP in 2017, has been named shadow minister for labour. (Pidcock, who is already viewed by some as a future leadership candidate, came to prominence last year when she declared of Tory MPs: “Whatever type they are, I have absolutely no intention of being friends with any of them…The idea that they’re not the enemy is simply delusional when you see the effect they have on people)”.
Thirty one-year-old Dan Carden, a former aide to Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and the MP for Liverpool Walton, has been appointed shadow international development minister. Another new MP Karen Lee succeeds Corbyn ally Chris Williamson, who resigned yesterday, as shadow fire minister.
Corbyn said of the reshuffle: “I am pleased to make these appointments to strengthen Labour’s frontbench team, which is now a government in waiting.
“I look forward to working with them in their new roles holding the government to account, developing policy to transform our country and, with their shadow secretary of states, preparing to form a government that will deliver for the many not the few.”
In response, new Conservative chairman Brandon Lewis said: “This reshuffle shows yet again that Labour will not just fail to confront abusive behaviour, but they will reward it. Clive Lewis and Laura Pidcock represent a nasty, regressive brand of politics which could not be further from Jeremy Corbyn’s laughable claims to represent a ‘kinder, gentler’ politics. It’s time for Labour MPs to speak up and condemn these appointments to ensure that all parties are united in working to stamp out abusive behaviour in public life.”
Here are the appointments in full.
Shadow Minister for Pensions – Jack Dromey MP
Shadow Minister for Labour – Laura Pidcock MP
Shadow Minister for Planning – Roberta Blackman-Woods MP
Shadow Minister for Social Care and Mental Health – Paula Sherriff MP
Shadow Minister for Buses – Matt Rodda MP
Shadow Minister for the Treasury – Clive Lewis MP
Shadow Minister for the Treasury – Lyn Brown MP
Shadow Minister for Fire – Karen Lee MP
Shadow Minister for International Trade – Judith Cummins MP
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office – Chris Matheson MP
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office – Laura Smith MP
Shadow Minister for International Development – Dan Carden MP
Shadow Minister for International Development – Preet Gill MP