It has been an eventful first few days for Jeremy Corbyn, just four days after being announced as the new leader of The Labour Party. Here are some of my thoughts on the different things that have happened so far.
A 50/50 Shadow Cabinet
Mr Corbyn has raised a few eyebrows after naming his shadow cabinet since none of the “top jobs” were given to women (although women were given the roles of Shadow Health Secretary and Shadow Business Secretary.) The reality is that half of Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet are women- the first time this has happened in British political history. The Daily Telegraph was one of the first newspapers to criticise Mr Corbyn for this, despite their top 14 most senior positions being filled by men.
Despite Yvette Cooper doing an excellent job as Shadow Home Secretary for nearly five years, I am delighted that Corbyn has given the role to Andy Burnham this time round. I had backed Andy for leader but I am pleased that he has a major role in the new Shadow Cabinet. I am also proud that he was the only leadership candidate who agreed to serve, with Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper declining the offer. I am sure he will do a great job opposing Theresa May. You can see my interview with Andy Burnham by clicking here.
Avoiding the Press
Jeremy Corbyn reportedly received a phone call from a reporter from The Sun. Mr Corbyn apparently immediately said “goodbye” and hung up the phone. This is exactly what the leader of The Labour Party should be doing- standing up to the right-wing press who never have anything good to say about the party. This didn’t happen in the many years B.C (Before Corbyn.) Check out this quote from the new Shadow Chancellor, Mr John McDonnell:
Tories Cut Tax Credits
The front cover of almost every newspaper displays this photo. Yesterday, the Conservatives announced cuts to tax credits, leaving tens of thousands of families worse-off. Did that make the front page? No? Didn’t think so.
God Save The Troops
To summarise, Mr Corbyn is actually a republican and this song has no relevance to him or his beliefs, like many others in the UK. In reality, Mr Corbyn decided to pay his respects by remaining silent and remembering those who have died fighting for our country, rather than singing. Mr Corbyn’s parents had both been part of the war. I believe that people should be far more offended by the evil cuts to people’s tax credits rather than this ‘non-news’ item. For those people who find this disrespectful, should remember when David Cameron was caught laughing and taking a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.
Prime Minister’s Questions
Jeremy Corbyn sent out an email to thousands of members asking for their question suggestions to ask the Prime Minister. He received 40,000 replies. Mr Corbyn wanted to change how Prime Minister’s Questions and ensure that the politicians involved would “behave like adults.” I think that Mr Corbyn’s first PMQ as leader of the opposition was successful and finally gave ordinary people the chance to put their questions forward to the Prime Minister (who seemed much calmer than usual.) My personal highlight was when Jeremy said “I am now going to ask a question from Angela..” and Angela Eagle, who was sat next to him, appeared to be mouthing “Not me! Not me…”
ABBA Tribute Act
Finally, in his first speech as leader, Mr Corbyn did say that he would form an ABBA tribute act with Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper. So here it is!