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Owen Smith makes shock return to Shadow Cabinet in Labour reshuffle

Owen Smith makes shock return to Shadow Cabinet in Labour reshuffle
2 min read

Owen Smith has made a dramatic return to the Shadow Cabinet just a year after challenging Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership.


The MP for Pontypridd has been made Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary as Mr Corbyn carried out a post-election mini-reshuffle.

Ian Lavery, who helped co-ordinate Labour's election campaign, has been rewarded by being made party chairman.

His fellow campaign chief, Andrew Gwynne, is made Shadow Communities Secetary.

Lesley Laird, who only became an MP last week after defeating the SNP in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, becomes Shadow Scottish Secretary in a major snub for Ian Murray, who held the post until he quit as past of the frontbench walkout against Mr Corbyn last summer.

Dawn Butler also joins Mr Corbyn's top team as Shadow Minister for Diverse Communities.

Every other Shadow Cabinet post remains the same, with Diane Abbott expected to return as Shadow Home Secretary when she recovers from illness.

The Labour leader said: "I look forward to working with the strengthened Shadow Cabinet as we prepare a government in waiting to carry out our manifesto for the many not the few.

"Our party is now on a permanent campaign footing in anticipation of the failure of Theresa May's attempt to establish a stable administration with the support of the DUP.

"I am therefore appointing Ian Lavery, Co-National Campaign Coordinator, to the additional role of Labour party chair to strengthen our campaigning and party organisation, as we prepare to contest a new general election and form the next government."

Owen Smith - who was an adviser to former Labour Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy - served as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary until quitting last June. 

During last year's leadership contest, he said Mr Corbyn had turned Labour into "a laughing stock".

But he was easily beaten by 62% to 38% by Mr Corbyn in the leadership contest.

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