Leeds MP pledges support for Corbyn with shadow role

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A CITY MP has pledged his support for the new left-wing leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn by serving in his shadow cabinet.

Long-standing party member Hilary Benn, who represents the Leeds Central constituency, said Mr Corbyn had put together an ‘inclusive’ team on his front-bench as it was confirmed that he will stay on as shadow foreign secretary, an appointment originally made by Ed Miliband.

However he said he was sorry that fellow Yorkshire politicians had not wanted to follow him and agree to work alongside Mr Corbyn in the Labour shadow cabinet.

Yesterday Caroline Flint and Mary Creagh followed Yvette Cooper and Rachel Reeves in announcing they will now serve the party from the back benches of the House of Commons.

Mr Benn said: “It’s a very inclusive shadow cabinet.

“For the first time in our political history the majority of members are women.

“I’m sorry that my colleagues have decided that they don’t want to serve.

“They are very, very talented.”

“As far as Yorkshire is concerned we have Michael Dugher who is doing the culture job, John Trickett in local government, Rosie Winterton remaining as chief whip and John Healey for housing.

“Each individual has to make their own decision but the vast majority of people are saying that he’s been elected by an overwhelming majority and we must provide an effective Labour opposition.”


He said his own decision to work with Mr Corbyn came from an appreciation of his fresh approach of appointing people who have varying opinions to his own.

“The thing that is different about this shadow cabinet is that Jeremy knows who he has appointed will have different views from his own. It’s a much more grown up form of politics,” he said, in reference to their differing opinions over membership of NATO.

He said: “I’m clear that our membership of NATO is part of the bedrock of the country and I’m very clear that we should remain. Jeremy takes a different view.”

Mr Benn made an early commitment to party members that the party would firmly remain within the yes camp in the forthcoming European referendum and said Mr Corbyn had also made it clear that it was the party’s job ‘not to walk away’ from the political union.