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Coaker answers Corbyn’s call and returns to Ulster

By Joanne Fleming

Published 14/09/2015

Vernon Coaker
Vernon Coaker

Vernon Coaker is returning to Northern Ireland as shadow secretary of state. The Labour MP for Gedling in Nottinghamshire previously held the position from 2011 to October 2013.

He replaces, Ivan Lewis, who was the first MP sacked from the shadow cabined by the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Sources said it was done by text message.

The swift decision will fuel unionists fears that Mr Corbyn is too close to Sinn Fein.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said he was disappointed to hear of Mr Lewis's departure. "My last contact with Ivan was yesterday, when I asked him to pass on my request for an urgent meeting with Jeremy Corbyn," said Mr Nesbitt.

"As a democrat, I respect Mr Corbyn's new-found mandate, but I am also entitled to express grave concerns about what he might do with it and I believe he owes me a hearing, given his recent public comments regarding the IRA and his longer term position regarding Northern Ireland."

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