Saturday, August 20

Labour fails to agree peace plan to let Corbyn’s shadow cabinet



The plan had been touted by some MPs as a potential way for the leader to repair relations within the party, but after the National Executive Committee put them on hold one senior Labour figure said it doesn’t look good for them.

A meeting of Labour’s ruling executive has failed to agree on proposals allowing MPs to elect members of Jeremy’s Corbyn shadow cabinet.

Others claimed there could still be hope for the proposals, which leading moderate MPs urged Mr Corbyn to adopt after his convincing leadership contest victory.

The plan, proposed by deputy leader Tom Watson, would have seen MPs given a say on who from among their ranks would sit with Mr Corbyn in the shadow cabinet.

One senior backbencher said: “The PLP [parliamentary Labour party] offered to return to an elected shadow cabinet as a way of finding a constructive way forward.

“Throwing that back in their faces is not going to help unite the party.”

Another MP said: “If they are not agreed here, then it becomes very complicated. It doesn’t look good for them.”

A second top backbencher said: “I never thought he’d agree to them in the end.”

A party source told The Independent the plans were put on hold in order to allow Mr Corbyn more time to continue conversations with individuals in the PLP and others about how to move forward.

“The ball is in Jeremy’s court,” the source said.

Meanwhile, an individual close to the leader said Mr Corbyn wanted to give the Scottish and Welsh party executives the opportunity to consider how such plans would be implemented. Another further senior figure said “discussions are ongoing”.

Earlier former frontbenchers Chuka Umunna, John Healey and Chris Leslie all publicly urged Mr Corbyn to accept the plans as a way to begin to heal wounds within the parliamentary party.

But after Mr Corbyn romped to victory against Owen Smith in the leadership contest, increasing his majority from his win in 2015, he said only that the idea was “in the mix”, while his ally shadow chancellor John McDonnell said he was “not keen” on the idea as it had been implemented in the past.