Less than two weeks after being elected Labour Leader, Keir Starmer’s already suffered his first frontbench resignation, with former Labour General Secretary Iain McNicol quitting last night as a Labour Whip in the Lords. Corbyn managed three months before suffering a shadow cabinet resignation…
Lord McNicol’s move comes in response to the pending investigation into the recently-leaked dossier on Labour’s handling of Antisemitism, in which McNicol is mentioned frequently; including claims that when Corbyn’s office questioned senior Labour staff about antisemitism cases, including McNicol, they repeatedly:
The report also implies McNicol was amongst those secretly disappointed in Labour’s 2017 election performance, claiming he and others discussed “hiding their reactions, saying “everyone needs to smile” and “we have to be upbeat. And not show it”.
WhatsApp messages from McNicol also show him ridiculing Labour policies as they were being announced, including free school meals with comments such as “Next we will be saying most poor people are criminals. And the best way to reduce future offending is by forced castration.” McNicol is in an awkward situation, however if Starmer makes him to be the fall guy Labour’s centrists will not be happy…
Now the Shadow Cabinet is in place, Angela Rayner and Jon Ashworth will be breathing sighs of relief to remain at the top table. Guido wonders when the lockdown is over whether they’ll party as hard as they did at Labour’s October Conference…
Guido’s always happy to showcase the hidden talents of the shadow cabinet. This sounds far worse that the recording we got of Ashworth before the general election. He’s just thankful this singing session didn’t result in a drunken leadership row, as seen in January.
Ironically, their choice of song was ‘Common People’; luckily, Rayner and Ashworth can get away with the label unlike many of Labour’s new front bench. With almost 20% privately educated, and 38% Oxbridge educated, Starmer’s top team are hardly common people…
After 3 years of dithering, u-turning and total confusion, last night Jeremy Corbyn finally gave up on trying to assert a Brexit policy on the Labour Party. He conceded to offering his cabinet a free vote in a second referendum should they win power…
Corbyn will also allow his MPs to campaign on either side of his proposed referendum – granting a huge choice between remaining, and staying in the customs union and regulatory orbit of the single market.
The move comes after Emily Thornberry’s excruciating Question Time appearance last week, where she had to explain with a straight face that if Labour came to power she would help negotiate a new deal with the EU, then campaign against it to stay in.
Meanwhile, deputy party leader Tom Watson has come up with yet another excuse to vote against a general election – saying there should be a second referendum beforehand. Maybe the new strategy is to make Britons so exhausted with as many votes as possible that they don’t notice Labour’s spinelessness…
“The last Labour leadership challenge was a battle between brothers,” writes Tim Stanley. “The shadow chancellor is married to the shadow home secretary – a former leadership candidate wedded to a future one. The deputy leader is married to the shadow minister for communities and local government. The shadow secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs is sister of the shadow leader of the House of Commons.”
And when they’re not related or sleeping with one another, they all come from the same narrow educational gene pool:
Ed Miliband: PPE, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
David Miliband: PPE, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Angela Eagle: PPE, St John’s College, Oxford
Maria Eagle: PPE, Pembroke College, Oxford
Ed Balls: PPE, Keble College, Oxford
Yvette Cooper: PPE, Balliol College, Oxford
Guido supposes the fact that Harriet Harman only made it to York after St Pauls is why Labour feel they can get on their high horse about the make up of their Shadow Cabinet.
A first look at that 2015 winning team:
Chuka is missing. Obviously he wouldn’t be seen dead with this ‘trash’. But where’s Lord Wood?
The defence of Ed so far has consisted of MPs saying the leader can’t do it all alone and needs support from his team. So just where are the Shadow Cabinet, and what have they been doing to help their leader during his summer woes? A co-conspirator passes Guido this list:
Ed Miliband – hasn’t tweeted since 22 July
Ed Balls – hasn’t tweeted since 26 July
Yvette Cooper – hasn’t tweeted since 27 July
Hilary Benn – hasn’t tweeted since 24 July
Angela Eagle – hasn’t tweeted since 27 July
Liam Byrne – hasn’t tweeted since 26 July
Michael Dugher – hasn’t tweeted since 30 July
Call in the support… hello? Anyone…