October 21, 2016

Jeremy Corbyn’s festive party ‘hit list’

JEREMY Corbyn is spending the Christmas break plotting a shadow cabinet reshuffle to strengthen his grip on Labour, sources have claimed.

The party leader and his aides are said to be spending the next fortnight deciding how to oust internal critics and replace them with hard-Left loyalists.

Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, who defied Mr Corbyn with a passionate speech in favour of RAF strikes in Syria, is thought to be high on the hit list.

Maria Eagle, the shadow defence secretary at odds with her leader’s belief in nuclear disarmament, is also thought to be a target.

Others who backed bombing in Syria may also find themselves ousted.

Left-wingers set to get promoted include Diane Abbott, the shadow international development secretary, and rising star Clive Lewis, who became shadow energy minister just months after joining the Commons at the last election.

The Labour leader sought to appoint a “balanced” team on taking over, giving shadow ministers leeway to hold differing views.

But his allies say the situation is becoming unworkable, with senior frontbenchers openly voicing criticism of the leader.

One source said: “You need people out there saying the same thing.”

Labour’s better than expected backing at the recent Oldham West and Royton by-election bolstered Mr Corbyn’s position.

His spokesman declined to comment on the speculation.

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