Labour moderates swing behind Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership following the general election. Former deputy leader Harriet Harman says former critics would be willing to rejoin the shadow cabinet. Labour gained 30 seats in the general election, securing Corbyn’s position as leader. It is “highly likely” that new appointments to the shadow cabinet will be made this week.
LONDON – Jeremy Corbyn’s former critics within the parliamentary Labour Party are now “prepared to serve” in his shadow cabinet, a leading moderate in the party said today.
Speaking on the Today programme, former interim Labour leader Harriet Harman said Corbyn “has shown us he can lead us forward” after previously expecting him to send the party “into the abyss”.
Harman was deputy leader under Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband and opposed Corbyn before the election. However, she said the atmosphere in the party has changed from “morbid before the election” to “verging on relief to jubilation,” and added that “Jeremy Corbyn has to take the credit for that.”
Centrist Labour MPs are seeking to return to active roles within the party following their unexpectedly successful performance in the election. Many of these MPs have previously been highly critical of Corbyn.
The veteran MP said: “I felt he couldn’t take us towards government let alone into government and he has confounded those expectations…”
“We were expected to go into the abyss and now she [Theresa May] has gone into the abyss.”
Her comments follow suggestions that following the election, where Labour gained 30 seats, experienced former ministers could join his front bench team.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that sources close to Yvette Cooper have said she would be prepared to “consider” the role of shadow home secretary. Cooper was one of the leadership candidates to oppose Corbyn in 2015, and was considering a leadership bid if Labour had lost seats in the general election.
Other figures who appear to be interested in a role under Corbyn now are former shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, a prominent MP on the party’s centrist wing and Angela Eagle, who served as shadow first secretary of state under Corbyn before resigning from the role last summer in protest at his leadership.
In her acceptance speech following her re-election, Eagle said “I pledge to play any part my Party should ask of me.”
Clive Efford, chair of the party’s Tribune Group told The Guardian that Corbyn should stick with his shadow cabinet who remained loyal to him during the general election campaign.
Efford said “he can’t sack those people. They deserve to be rewarded for what they have done.”
A senior Labour source told Business Insider that it’s “highly likely [new] appointments will be made this week” to the shadow cabinet.