Jeremy Corbyn appoints Seumas Milne as head of strategy and communications

The Labour leader has appointed the Guardian journalist as his new chief spinner.

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Jeremy Corbyn has appointed the Guardian's Seumas Milne as director of communications and strategy.

Milne, who has been a columnist at the Guardian for many years, also served as comment editor from 2001 to 2007, and as labour editor. He has joined "on leave" from the Guardian, suggesting he will be able to return to the paper should he stop working for the Labour party.

Kevin Slocombe, recruited as interim press chief, is likely to join the campaign team of Marvin Rees, Labour's candidate for the Bristol mayoralty, rather than stay on in a junior capacity. 

But Milne's appointment has been criticised in some quarters. In 2013, Milne wrote that the killing of Lee Rigby in Woolwich, "wasn't terrorism in the normal sense", as Rigby had served multiple tours in Afghanistan. Luke Holland, formerly a press officer for Labour headquarters and for Yvette Cooper's campaign for the Labour leadership, tweeted that "if he [Milne] was trying to stand as a Labout councillor, he'd be blocked", and added that he could not see how Milne's appointment "could stand".

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.