- Labour leader told that party shouldn't turn into 'cult'
- Newspapers say Dugher, others may be about to lose positions
A senior member of the U.K. Labour Party warned Jeremy Corbyn that he risked turning his team into a “Politburo” if he moves opponents out of their jobs.
Michael Dugher, the party’s culture spokesman and one of those whose positions was reported in Sunday’s newspapers to be at risk, attacked the idea of removing key figures including foreign affairs spokesman Hilary Benn and defense spokeswoman Maria Eagle, who both supported air strikes against Islamic State in Syria.
“Jeremy appointed Hilary and Maria only four months ago,” Dugher told BBC Radio 5 on Sunday. “He talked about the need to bring people together. The Labour Party is a broad church, not a religious cult.”
A spokesman for Corbyn said the party wouldn’t comment on speculation about a reshuffle.
Corbyn has been openly opposed by many of his party’s lawmakers since his surprise victory in September. His ability to set the party’s direction has been limited by resistance within his shadow cabinet. He faces further confrontations this year over the renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear missile system, which he opposes and Eagle supports. However, any attempt to move Benn or Eagle risks sparking a confrontation with the wider parliamentary party.
Some of Corbyn’s opponents would welcome such a battle. Kim Howells, a former foreign minister who has retired from Parliament, told the BBC the party needed to eject Corbyn and his supporters.
“In a democracy you’ve got to have an opposition and we haven’t got one at the moment,” Howells said. “These are superannuated Trotskyite oppositionists, they’re not real politicians, and I’m afraid it’s a disaster as far as I’m concerned.”