Former Labour leadership challenger returns to shadow cabinet

15 Jun 17

Owen Smith, who previously ran in the Labour leadership contest, has returned to Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet following a small reshuffle.

The MP for Pontypridd will serve under Corbyn as shadow Northern Ireland secretary. Smith quit Labour’s front bench in 2016 and ran against Labour’s leader that year but failed to win the vote.

Thus far John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, Keir Starmer, shadow secretary of state for exiting the European Union, and Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, have all kept their current jobs.

Campaign managers Andrew Gwynne and Ian Lavery have been rewarded with new roles following the better-than-expected election result.

Gwynee is now shadow communities secretary while Lavery is chair of the Labour Party. Although, both retain campaign co-ordinators in anticipation of another general election.

Newly-elected Lesley Laird has been appointed shadow Scottish secretary after defeating the SNP in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

On Tuesday, Corbyn told his MPs the party was the government-in-waiting and they must remain in "permanent campaign mode" as Theresa May's attempts to form a minority government with the Democratic Unionists.

He 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.”

The Labour Party told PF it does not yet have a date for when the full shadow cabinet report will be announced but media reports suggest it could be early next week.

Press reports have suggested Corbyn wants to force another general election, perhaps by de-railing the Queen's Speech, which is now sceduled for Wednesday 21 June.

Yesterday, the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron announced he was resigning after two years in charge over the scrutiny he faced for his personal religious beliefs.

The committed Christian said: “From the very first day of my leadership, I have faced questions about my Christian faith.  “I've tried to answer with grace and patience.  Sometimes my answers could have been wiser.”

During the general election questions were asked about Farron’s views on the sinfulness of homosexuality, he initially declined to comment but under pressure later said he did not think it was a sin.  

Although, he said yesterday he found himself "torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader".

But he stressed that he remained a liberal “to my finger tips” and he refused to condone the idea of imposing one’s religious beliefs on others.

His decision to resign follows shortly after Brian Paddick, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, once the UK’s most senior gay police officer, quit the party’s front bench over Farron’s views on homosexuality and abortion.

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