Emily Thornberry: Ukip's dream candidate could be promoted in Jeremy Corbyn's reshuffle

Josh Barrie@JoshBythesea
Sunday 03 January 2016 13:40
news

It could be Ukip’s dream move – Emily Thornberry, tweeter of the infamous “Image from #Rochester’, is thought to be line for a promotion in Labour’s shadow cabinet reshuffle.

Thornberry resigned from the front bench following backlash from her November 2014 tweet while out on the campaign trail in the Rochester and Strood by-election, which Labour lost to Ukip. The then shadow attorney general was accused of showing "contempt" for working class voters.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is thought to be ready to replace foreign secretary Hilary Benn with Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury and current shadow employment secretary.

Friends of Corbyn said that Benn could be offered an alternative role after he voted in favour of air strikes on Isis in Syria, the Sunday Telegraph reports.

The move would likely delight Ukippers, who still see Kent areas such as Rochester as strong battlegrounds for the party.

But while Ukip might favour Thornberry’s inclusion in the cabinet, there are Labour MPs who aren’t so keen. Speculation is rife.

A Labour MP told The Sunday Telegraph:

Jeremy shouldn’t underestimate the fury about moving Hilary Benn because even MPs who voted against Syria were incredibly impressed with how he conducted himself.

A revenge reshuffle of this kind is completely unnecessary and will only damage the party when we should be focusing on the election in May.

The message being sent out to moderate MPs in the party is worrying.

Deputy whips Mark Tami and Alan Campbell, and Maria Eagle, the shadow defence secretary, are also thought to be in the firing line.

There's even been mention that Labour could become somewhat of a "religious cult" if Corbyn continues.

Shadow culture secretary Michael Dugher stepped into the conversation on Sunday, telling Pienaar's Politics on BBC Radio 5Live:

Reshuffles are a matter for the leadership. In my experience having worked closely with previous leaders there’s a reason why they tend to be a bit reluctant to go down the path of big reshuffles.

That’s because they do try and hold the party together, they do recognise the Labour party is a broad church not a religious cult, that you need people of different backgrounds and try and get the best possible talents. Ultimately that’ll be a decision for Jeremy.

Corbyn could be in for yet another rough ride.

More: Here is the British government's meek statement on Saudi Arabia's execution of 47 people

Trending