Jeremy Corbyn begins shadow cabinet reshuffle following resignations

Labour MP Angela Smith says Mr Corbyn "quite clearly has to go"

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Image: Jonathan Brady / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has announced a reshuffle of his shadow cabinet, following a revolt against him.

Emily Thornberry is to be the new shadow foreign secretary, Diane Abbott will take the health portfolio and Pat Glass will be given responsibility for education. 

Andy McDonald will take responsibility for transport, Clive Lewis for defence, Rebecca Long-Bailey will be shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.

Shadow international development secretary will be Kate Osamor, environment food and rural affairs will go to Rachel Maskell, voter engagement and youth affairs will be the responsibility of Cat Smith and the new shadow Northern Ireland secretary will be Dave Anderson.

The appointments come after a turbulent Sunday, which began with Mr Corbyn sacking shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn on learning he had apparently been planning his downfall.

Eleven other members of the shadow cabinet reacted by announcing their resignations during the day.

This morning, they were followed by shadow foreign minister Diana Johnson, shadow minister for civil society Anna Turley and shadow armed forces minister Toby Perkins.

Angela Smith is a Labour MP for Penistone & Stocksbridge, and spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about the situation facing her party.

"My position on Jeremy Corbyn is that he quite clearly has to go," she argued. "He's not showing or hasn't demonstrated the qualities that we need for a decisive, effective and strong leadership.

"In the coming period, we are going to need an excellent leader who is capable of constructive opposition - particularly given all the very difficult and complex negotiations that are ahead of us," she added.

In her letter to Mr Corbyn, Ms Turley cited the "lacklustre referendum campaign" as among the reasons that "it has become clear to me beyond doubt that you and your team are not providing the strong, forward looking and competent leadership we need to provide an alternative government to these increasingly right-wing Conservatives".

Mr Perkins wrote that the party "urgently needs a change at the top", adding: "To allow (the Labour Party) to risk the catastrophe it will surely face, if you lead us into the General Election campaign, would be a betrayal of my members, constituents and the wider country".

Mr Corbyn has said he will not step down as Labour leader, adding he will not "betray the trust" of those who elected him.

In a statement released last night, Mr Corbyn said any challengers to his leadership "will have to stand in a democratic election, in which I will be a candidate".

"I regret there have been resignations today from my shadow cabinet. But I am not going to betray the trust of those who voted for me - or the millions of supporters across the country who need Labour to represent them.

"Those who want to change Labour's leadership will have to stand in a democratic election, in which I will be a candidate.

"Over the next 24 hours I will reshape my shadow cabinet and announce a new leadership team to take forward Labour's campaign for a fairer Britain - and to get the best deal with Europe for our people," he added.