Jeremy Corbyn's most unforgivable reshuffle mistake was definitely letting David Cameron make a funny joke

Rebecca Reid@RebeccaCNReid
Wednesday 06 January 2016 12:00
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Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet reshuffle went on longer than an average childbirth, which has left everyone with lots of time to scrutinise his every move (and lose the will to live along the way).

The Labour leader's most controversial choice was getting rid of Michel Dugher, who had been openly critical of Corbyn's leadership, as shadow culture secretary.

It's unclear why anyone is shocked that Corbyn is choosing not to work with people who openly admit that they don't like him or his methods.

As Sean O'Grady pointed out in the i paper on Wednesday morning, this is only Corbyn's first crack at the whip, and so far from an election, really not worth getting upset about.

The Labour party is hyperventilating about a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle four years before the next general election campaign gets underway. It needs to calm itself. Every leader of every party, or at least every leader who wishes to change the direction of their party, will inherit a team that is not to their liking.

Other MPs have condemned Dugher's sacking, with Tom Watson saying: "Michael Dugher is a rare politician - a talented working-class MP who hasn't lost his strong Yorkshire roots."

Corbyn also demoted Maria Eagle from her role as shadow defence secretary - to culture - in favour of Emily Thornberry, known for her controversially "snobby" Rochester tweet.

Eagle disagreed with Corbyn's stance on Trident, so it's not a complete shock that he replaced her with Thornberry who shares his views.

Overall, his reshuffle might be defendable, but Corbyn has definitely done something unforgivable this week - letting David Cameron make a joke.

While in the midst of what the prime minister described as the "longest reshuffle in history" and with his own MPs in open revolt, the Labour leader thought it would be a good time to lecture Tory MPs on Europe.

To deliver change you need patient, effective diplomacy, and you need to make friends.

Let that sink in for a moment...

In return, while his own side of the chamber guffawed, Mr Cameron quipped:

Never mind how many eagles you end up with, you've all worked out you've got an albatross at the head of your party.

As the Independent's Tom Peck wrote in his sketch on Wednesday, while describing Cameron's "first ever actually funny joke":

As with Maogate, the sheer tenacity of Team Corbyn in using the government's mistakes to its profound disadvantage is almost to be admired.

Quite.

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