Reshuffle leaves MPs on backbenches

MPs Yvonne Fovargue and Lisa Nandy
MPs Yvonne Fovargue and Lisa Nandy

Wigan borough pair Lisa Nandy and Yvonne Fovargue have been overlooked in the first wave of Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet reshuffle.

The Labour leader, who has been re-elected with a larger mandate, has been locked in talks with senior party officials during the last few days.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn

Ms Nandy and Ms Fovargue resigned from front-bench roles citing concerns about his leadership earlier this year.

Some colleagues who also stepped down have been re-instated to the front bench but there have been no such announcements regarding the borough pair.

Andy Burnham, the borough’s third Labour MP, has stepped down as shadow home secretary and his role has been filled by long-term Corbyn ally Diane Abbott.

With John McDonnell expected to stay in place as shadow chancellor and Emily Thornberry likely to retain the foreign affairs brief, the three most senior positions in the body are all held by staunch-Corbyn supporters - and London MPs.

The reshuffle has also left Mr Corbyn open to criticism he has been promoting little-known allies over more experienced MPs.

Former whip Tom Blenkinsop accused Mr Corbyn of rowing back on his promise to unite the party. He said: “Clear Corbyn wants submission not unity. Ignoring wishes of the PLP and just sacking and appointing regardless.”

And in a surprise move the Labour leader brought in Nick Brown, a long-standing ally of former leader Gordon Brown to replace Rosie Winterton as chief whip, who had been attempting to broker an agreement over shadow cabinet elections.

The move has reportedly angered many of Mr Corbyn’s critics, who saw Ms Winterton’s role as a key bridge of communication between moderate backbenchers and the leader’s team.

Sir Keir Starmer, the former head of the Crown Prosecution Service, who was among those who stormed out of the shadow cabinet earlier this year, will return to the front benches as shadow Brexit secretary.

Ms Nandy was formerly shadow energy secretary and Ms Fovargue was a front bench minister for consumer affairs and science.