While Jeremy Corbyn claimed that his new shadow cabinet was a "unifying" one, he has come in for particular criticism for appointing John McDonnell as his shadow chancellor.

The self-avowed socialist, who has been MP for Hayes and Harlington since 1997, has, like Corbyn, served his entire parliamentary career on the backbenches.

Once reportedly sacked by Ken Livingstone for being too left-wing when a member of the Greater London Council, McDonnell will now face George Osborne across the dispatch box - something the Independent's deputy political editor Nigel Morris describes as one of the most "dramatic clashes of ideology in the Commons since the 1980s".

In his first television interview since being appointed, McDonnell sat down with Channel 4's Jon Snow to discuss what lies ahead for Labour, some of his controversial comments in the past and how he wants to reform the capitalist system:


It means actually ensuring people understand what capitalism is and we talk together about how we change it because it’s failing people at the moment.

I think the shadow chancellor’s role is to put forward an alternative to what’s happening at the moment under our economic system that we’ve got, we’ve got people in poverty.

You know, we’ve got four million children in poverty at the moment in our country and two million pensioners and that’s just unacceptable in a civilised society.

  • John McDonnell, shadow chancellor
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