Corbyn criticised from own ranks over ‘jobs for the boys’

Hull North MP Diana Johnson
Hull North MP Diana Johnson
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NEW Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn came under fire tonight over the male domination of the leading roles in his first Shadow Cabinet.

With the party having already elected a man, Tom Watson, to the deputy leadership, Mr Corbyn went on to hand the roles of Shadow Chancellor, Shadow Foreign Secretary and Shadow Home Secretary to male MPs.

Writing on Twitter, Hull North MP Diana Johnson said: “It is so very disappointing - old fashioned male dominated Labour politics in the top positions in Shadow Cabinet #notforgirls”.

Her criticism was echoed by former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith who wrote: “Oh come off it! #jobsfortheboys”.

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Bradford-born Labour peer Baroness Thornton wrote: “All top jobs men #notgoodstart”.

It is the first time since 2006 that no woman has held either one of the main offices of state or its shadow for Labour.

Mr Corbyn has previously promised to make sure his shadow cabinet is gender balanced.

In an apparent effort to head off criticism, Labour officials followed up an announcement that Angela Eagle was taking the business brief with news some hours later that she would also be shadow first secretary of state.

That will mean she takes on Chancellor George Osborne at the weekly PMQs sessions when David Cameron is away. However, as Mr Corbyn has already indicated he hopes to rotate responsibility for PMQs around his ministers the significance is currently unclear.

Heidi Alexander is shadow health secretary, Seema Malhotra will be Mr McDonnell’s number two as shadow chief secretary and Rosie Winterton remains chief whip.

Leeds MP Hilary Benn, who is staying on a shadow foreign secretary, dismissed concerns about the lack of women in the top posts - traditionally considered to be shadowing the chancellor, home secretary and foreign secretary.

“It all depends on your definition of top job,” he said. “That is a slightly old fashioned view. International development, Diane Abbott is going to be doing that. The refugee crisis has taught us how important it is to play our part in supporting people.

“Education of our children is vital, Lucy Powell is going to be doing that., And Angela Eagle, as well as being shadow business secretary, she is going to be the shadow first secretary of state.”