John McDonnell has confirmed he will not be part of Labour’s next shadow cabinet following the party’s defeat in Thursday’s election.
The shadow chancellor, who played a prominent role in Labour’s election campaign, said “I’ve done my bit”, and suggested a big reshuffle of Labour’s front bench team will now take place.
McDonnell added that “Jeremy was the right leader”.
McDonnell, who retained the Hayes and Harlington seat he has held since 1997 in Thursday’s election, added that Corbyn had been “demonised by a smear campaign against him” by the media. He fully backed Corbyn saying:
I didn’t back the wrong person because Jeremy was the right leader. We could have won in 2017. Things moved on. Brexit dominated everything.
Asked if Corbyn was the reason for the party’s defeat, he added:
I think there is an issue to be discussed about how the use of the social media – but also the overall media – has turned someone who I think is one of the most principled, honest, sincere, committed anti-racist politicians demonised by a smear campaign against him.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
He told BBC News:
We will all go now. The new leader will come in place and appoint a shadow cabinet. I won’t be part of the shadow cabinet.
I’ve done my bit. We need to move on at that stage with that new leader.
A senior source close to McDonnell, who has been shadow chancellor since 2015, said: “John will stay in place until a new leader and new frontbench team is in place.”
I think we will be in a position, learning lessons listening to people, constructing a broad coalition right across the country. In those seats we have lost, it is about listening to people.
I think it wasn’t just Brexit. I think a long history of maybe 40 years of neglect and them saying to politicians ‘you never listen to us and you have allowed our community to run down in this way’.
I am hoping that will enable us to construct a programme to address those issues, but it has got to be from the grassroots and community upwards.
The election saw Labour swept aside by the Conservatives in its heartlands in the Midlands, north Wales and north-eastern England. Some traditional Labour constituencies, such as Darlington in the north of England, now have a Conservative MP for the first time in decades – in the case of Bishop Auckland, for the first time since the seat was created.
Corbyn has said he will not be leading the party into another general election.
Speaking about the timetable for him to leave, Corbyn said:
The National Executive will have to meet, of course, in the very near future and it is up to them. It will be in the early part of next year.
Positioning in the race to become the next Labour leader has already started, with ardent Remainer David Lammy confirming he was considering putting his name forward.
Others being touted to take over include Lisa Nandy, who represents Leave-voting Wigan, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Angela Rayner, Sir Keir Starmer, Jess Phillips and Emily Thornberry.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?