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Jeremy Corbyn chairs first meeting of reshuffled shadow cabinet

Published 12/01/2016

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, right, holds his first shadow cabinet meeting since his reshuffle
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, right, holds his first shadow cabinet meeting since his reshuffle

Jeremy Corbyn has chaired the first meeting of Labour's shadow cabinet since his controversial reshuffle.

Despite the ructions of the past week, there was no sign of acrimony as shadow ministers gathered around a square table in the leader's suite of rooms in Parliament.

At the table for the first time was new shadow defence secretary Emily Thornberry, as well as Karl Turner, who was promoted from shadow solicitor general to shadow attorney general on Monday following the resignation of Catherine McKinnell.

Flanking Mr Corbyn at the first meeting of 2016 were deputy leader Tom Watson and shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Seema Malhotra, while facing him from the other side of the room was shadow chancellor John McDonnell alongside Hilary Benn.

Mr Benn kept the role of shadow foreign secretary in the reshuffle, despite widespread speculation that he would be moved, after what Mr Corbyn described as a "long conversation" with him.

The Leeds Central MP denied he had been "muzzled", but Mr Corbyn made clear he expected closer co-operation on foreign affairs issues and no repeat of the Syria vote when the pair spoke on opposite sides of the debate from the Labour front bench.

The meeting came amid continuing unease within the party over policy on the UK's Trident nuclear deterrent. Three shadow cabinet members - shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith, shadow education secretary Lucy Powell and shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer - have refused to rule out quitting their posts if the party drops its backing for Trident renewal.

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