A LAST MINUTE phone call to a Leeds MP completed Jeremy Corbyn’s long and drawn out re-shuffle of his top team.
After 18 years seving from the House of Commons’ backbenches, Fabian Hamilton, who represents Leeds North East, has been appointed as shadow junior foreign minister.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell called Mr Hamilton late on Wednesday night, which the 60-year-old said had left him ‘gob-smacked’.
He said: “[Shadow Chancellor] John McDonnell said I hope you are going to do this because we are counting on you. I was gob-smacked. He was very warm and effusive.
“I was rather surprised to be asked after 18 and a half years.”
Mr Hamilton is a fluent French speaker and has travelled extensively during his decade on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. He also helped oversee the 2013 General Election in Nepal.
It was his strong views against nuclear weapons, however, that helped secure him his job.
While he won’t be directly involved in the controversial Labour defence review, headed by former London mayor Ken Livingstone, his anti-proliferation stance is in line with Jeremy Corbyn’s views.
He said: “I’m not a loony leftie nutter. I just can’t see the logic in maintaining such a weapons system.
“Now I think that my view is much more mainstream. Get rid of them, don’t scrap them tomorrow, but phase them out.”
He replaces Welsh MP Stephen Doughty, who resigned live on TV this week after Mr Corbyn sacked shadow Europe minister Pat McFadden over what he considered to be a number of political smears during the reshuffle.
Mr Hamilton will work under fellow Leeds MP and shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn.
The father-of-three said: “I’m very excited. You never know what’s going to happen. You think you’re in a rut, then everything changes.”