Chakrabarti and Champion joins shadow cabinet in reshuffle

Shami Chakrabarti pictured at the Liberty Building, Leeds University.....13th February 2012...Picture by Simon Hulme
Shami Chakrabarti pictured at the Liberty Building, Leeds University.....13th February 2012...Picture by Simon Hulme
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SHAMI CHAKRABARTI, the former Liberty director who carried out a controversial investigation into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, has been appointed to the shadow cabinet.

Lady Chakrabarti, who was made a life peer by Jeremy Corbyn following her report, is to be the new shadow attorney general, the Labour leader announced.

Mr Corbyn also handed a major promotion to his long-time ally Diane Abbott, making her shadow home secretary as he began reshuffling his top team in the wake of his leadership victory.

Earlier Mr Corbyn announced that he was making veteran Nick Brown - a long-standing ally of former leader Gordon Brown - chief whip, replacing Rosie Winterton.

The former director of Liberty was forced to defend herself over her peerage nomination, which was announced just a month after her anti-Semitism inquiry into the Labour Party concluded.

The appointment was met with fierce criticism from prominent Jews and Labour MPs, who questioned her independence.

Ms Chakrabarti has insisted there was “nothing remotely transactional” about her report when pressed if there were any talks about a peerage before it was completed.

The Labour leader needs to rebuild his frontbench team after the mass walk-out of shadow cabinet members opposed to him in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in June.

Mr Brown’s appointment suggests that some MPs who had previously expressed a lack of confidence in Mr Corbyn may be prepared to return to shadow positions after his landslide re-election by the membership.

However, a number of anti-Corbyn MPs, such as failed leadership challenger Owen Smith, have insisted they could not serve under him.

Mr Corbyn has so far been resistant to calls from former shadow cabinet members for the body’s membership to be decided by a ballot of MPs.

In a statement, Mr Corbyn welcomed Mr Brown’s agreement to take on the role of chief whip and paid tribute to Ms Winterton.

Mr Corbyn also appointed Sarah Champion to the role of shadow women and equalities minister, and Jo Stevens as shadow Welsh secretary.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “Jeremy has today spoken to a number of colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party and will continue to do so throughout the day. He has begun the process of appointing a new front bench team.”