‘Generous’ Jeremy gives shadow cabinet job to Owen Smith

Written by Rod Muir on 14 June 2017 in Diary

The Labour leader has put his money where his mouth is.

This weekend, Jeremy Corbyn told Andrew Marr he was ready to build bridges with some of the Labour MPs who opposed his leadership.

“I am the most generous person in the world,” he said, when asked if his old foes could come back to the front bench.

Now the Labour leader has lived up to his claim – by bringing Owen Smith back to the shadow cabinet just a year after challenged Corbyn for the Labour leadership.

During last year's leadership contest, Smith said Corbyn had turned Labour into "a laughing stock". But he was easily beaten by 62% to 38% by Corbyn.

As the leader carried out a post-election mini-reshuffle, Smith - who was an adviser to former Labour Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy - was made shadow Northern Ireland secretary.

Ian Lavery, who helped co-ordinate Labour's election campaign, has been rewarded by being made party chairman.

His fellow campaign chief, Andrew Gwynne, was made shadow communities secetary.

Lesley Laird, who only became an MP last week after defeating the SNP in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, became shadow Scottish secretary in a major snub for Ian Murray, who held the post until he quit as past of the frontbench walkout against Mr Corbyn last summer.

Dawn Butler has also joined Corbyn's top team as shadow minister for diverse communities.

Every other shadow cabinet post remains the same, with Diane Abbott expected to return as shadow home secretary when she recovers from illness.

The Labour leader said: "I look forward to working with the strengthened Shadow Cabinet as we prepare a government in waiting to carry out our manifesto for the many not the few.

"Our party is now on a permanent campaign footing in anticipation of the failure of Theresa May's attempt to establish a stable administration with the support of the DUP.

"I am therefore appointing Ian Lavery, Co-National Campaign Coordinator, to the additional role of Labour party chair to strengthen our campaigning and party organisation, as we prepare to contest a new general election and form the next government."

Smith - served as shadow work and pensions secretary until quitting last June.

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