Shadow chan­cel­lor role for McDon­nell

Hayes & Har­ling­ton MP ap­pointed by leader Cor­byn

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Robert Cum­ber robert.cum­ber@trin­i­tymir­

NEWLY-ELECTED Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn has ap­pointed Hayes & Har­ling­ton MP John McDon­nell as his shadow chan­cel­lor.

Mr McDon­nell ran Mr Cor­byn’s cam­paign and is a long-run­ning po­lit­i­cal ally of the new party supremo, so his role as num­ber two has not come as a huge sur­prise to many.

But some po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors have raised eye­brows at the de­ci­sion to ap­point a close friend to such a key po­si­tion, say­ing it leaves Mr Cor­byn open to ac­cu­sa­tions of crony­ism.

A num­ber of for­mer Labour front benchers, in­clud­ing lead­er­ship con­tenders Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, ruled them­selves out of serv­ing in a Cor­byn shadow cab­i­net due to ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences.

Mr McDon­nell, who was elected to par­lia­ment in 1997, had pre­vi­ously put him­self for­ward to rep­re­sent the party’s far left in the Labour lead­er­ship elec­tions of 2007 and 2010, but failed to make the bal­lot.

He is the Par­lia­men­tary Con­venor of the Trade Union Co-or­di­nat­ing Group of eight trade unions rep­re­sent­ing more than half a mil­lion work­ers, and be­fore en­ter­ing par­lia­ment he served as a re­searcher for the Na­tional Union of Minework­ers, then the Trades Union Congress.

He served as deputy leader of the Greater Lon­don Coun­cil in the early 1980s be­fore be­ing re­moved by then leader Ken Liv­ing­stone due to a row over his han­dling of the bud­get.

When he was awarded a fel­low­ship by Birk­beck Univer­sity, where he used to study, he was de­scribed by Joanna Bourke as a ‘tire­less ad­vo­cate for the down­trod­den’.

In a blog on his web­site last month, Mr McDon­nell had urged peo­ple to ‘ig­nore the hys­te­ria’ from within the party and out­side over Mr Cor­byn’s eco­nomic pro­pos­als.

He wrote that the Labour leader-to-be was ‘com­mit­ted’ to elim­i­nat­ing the deficit, adding ‘our plans to tax the very rich and re­shape the econ­omy are sound com­mon sense’.

There has been crit­i­cism from some Labour MPs of the lack of women in the tra­di­tion­ally most pres­ti­gious roles in Mr Cor­byn’s shadow cab­i­net.

But Mr McDon­nell told the BBC the shadow cab­i­net would be ‘gen­der­bal­anced’ and said the real top jobs were those pro­vid­ing ser­vices like health and ed­u­ca­tion.

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