Steve Faltley ("The long view on the Labour party and its left-right tensions," letters, The Guardian, 13 March 2019; www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/12/the-long-view-on-the-labour-party-and-its-left-right-tensions) needs to do a little more research or engage his memory before firing off another letter criticising Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet make-up.
He claims he should reach out to offer experienced ex-ministers like former party leader Ed Miliband and former communities secretary Yvette Cooper. He did. Both turned down jobs, preferring in the former case to concentrate on campaigning, and in the latter, to chair the home affairs select committee.
He also attacks Corbyn for a lack of inclusivity compared to Blair in his political team, citing how Blair included-left oriented MPs such as Dr Gavin Strang and Michael Meacher.
In fact Strang was never given a department, only being in charge of transport under deputy pm John Prescott; and Meacher was never given a cabinet job, as Labour rules required, despite having been elected to the shadow cabinet.
By contrast, Corbyn did however appoint the following Blairite or centrist MPs into his first shadow cabinet:
Heidi Alexander, Health; Gloria De Piero, Young People and Voter Registration; Ian Murray, Scottish; Lilian Greenwood, Transport; Lucy Powell, Education; Kerry McCarthy, Environment; Seema Malhotra, Chief Secretary to the Treasury; Vernon Coaker, Northern Ireland; Lord Charlie Falconer, Justice; Karl Turner Attorney General; Chris Bryant, Leader of the House; Hilary Benn and Diana Johnson’ Foreign; Lisa Nandy, Energy; Owen Smith, Work and Pensions; Angela Eagle, Business; John Healey, Housing and Planning; Nia Griffith, Welsh; Maria Eagle, Culture; Kate Green, or Women and Equalities; Luciana Berger, Mental Health.
They all resigned less than a year after being appointed, in an orchestrated – but failed - attempt at a coup to remove him as elected leader.
Many MPs in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), including the notorious resignees, who jumped from the progressive Corbyn-MacDonnell ship to form the right-of-centre “independent group”, have spent much time since trying to destroy Labour’s chance of electoral victory by undermining the leadership at every turn, for which they will not be thanked by millions who need a Labour government
Luckily Corbyn’s record at elections is excellent, and he is on track to be the first socialist prime minister, in the wake of the unmitigated chaos of the current Tory shambles in government.
But he needs to get better political advisors in his office.