Jeremy Corbyn has announced the members of his shadow cabinet after being named the new leader of the Labour party this weekend.
Today Jeremy Corbyn unveiled his self-styled ‘inclusive’ shadow cabinet. The new selections saw half the positions go to female Labour MPs for the first time in history. Nevertheless, Corbyn drew criticism for appointing no women to the top jobs. A swift defence play by the Labour team has claimed positions such as Education and Healthcare are now more important than the traditional leadership roles, due to Corbyn’s policy priorities.
Corbyn won the leadership ballot on Saturday with a landslide victory of 59.5% of the vote. Andy Burnham came a distant second place with 19% of the vote, Yvette Cooper third with 17% and Liz Kendall with a disappointing 4.5%.
Labour supporters looking for something different have been captivated by the new leader. After years on the back benches, Corbyn has ascended to one of the most important roles in UK politics, albeit at 66 years old – and he’ll be going on 71 before his first real chance to walk through the door to Number 10. One of Corbyn’s most important assets is his ability to sound like – and appeal to – the common man. Supporters say he can inspire those who usually won’t bother voting to vote – and, more importantly, to vote for him.
Labour's Key Shadow Cabinet Figures
Deputy leader - Tom Watson
Chancellor of the exchequer - John McDonnell
Business, Innovation and Skills - Angela Eagle
Chief secretary to the Treasury - Seema Malhotra
Home secretary - Andy Burnham
Defence secretary - Maria Eagle
Foreign secretary - Hilary Benn
Work and Pensions secretary - Owen Smith
Opposition chief whip - Rosie Winterton
Health secretary - Heidi Alexander
Education secretary - Lucy Powell
Lord Chancellor, Justice secretary - Lord Falconer
Energy and Climate Change - Lisa Nandy
Transport secretary - Lilian Greenwood
International Development secretary - Diane Abbott
Culture, Media, Sport - Michael Dugher
Minister for Mental Health - Luciana Berger
Corbyn’s first move has already been unveiled – the Labour website has a submission form asking ‘what do you want to ask David Cameron?’ Corbyn intends to ask the public’s questions during the next PMQ’s giving the people a direct voice inside the walls of parliament; a smart move, considering the Tories are unlikely to react to questions posed by the electorate with the same derision Labour MPs normally get, but still allowing Corbyn to carefully select which questions to ask. David Cameron has already voiced his opinion on Twitter, calling the Labour Party ‘a threat to national security.’ This extreme statement makes reference to Corbyn’s desire to scrap the Trident missile system, his links to extremist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, and his support for winding up NATO.
Those who hold concerns over Corbyn are worried that many of his ideologies are out of line with the thinking of the general public. They ask whether 2020 could lead to an even greater defeat for Labour despite Corbyn’s emphatic internal victory, with ‘noisy’ Corbyn supporters making little difference at the polls against the ‘shy Tories’ at the ballot box. Senior Labour figures predict a future where supporters who believe in more moderate, centrist ideas will switch to the Liberal Democrats, or – even worse – the Conservatives. This combined with the fact that UKIP stole as many votes from Labour as it did from the Tories at the last election would result in a splintered Left, locked out of power for a generation. The Lib Dems will be hoping this Labour leadership result can drive a great resurgence for them as Labour lurches to the left.
What does this mean for students? Corbyn reportedly wants to establish the National Education Service (NES) modelled on the NHS. In a post for Labour List he said it would be ‘a lifelong learning service for a lifetime of opportunity’. From an austere status quo will come the usual question – how are you going to pay for that?