Corbyn hit by new flurry of resignations as Powell criticises Corbyn’s leadership

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Jeremy Corbyn on ITV The Agenda

More than 20 people have now quit the Labour frontbench, following a new swathe of resignations on Monday morning.

Corbyn’s act of removing Hilary Benn as shadow Foreign Secretary late Saturday night prompted 11 Shadow Cabinet resignations on Sunday, and there have been around a dozen resignations from junior frontbench positions so far today.

The biggest blow for the leadership so far today is that Angela Smith, the Labour leader in the Lords, and Steve Bassam, the Lords chief whip, are refusing to attend Shadow Cabinet while Corbyn remains in place. However, they are not resigning, and as they are elected by Labour peers then they cannot be sacked by the leader.

More resignations are expected to follow throughout the day – keep up with the latest on our liveblog.

Among the most notable resignations this morning include Stephen Kinnock as PPS to Angela Eagle, Steve Reed from Shadow Local Government and Toby Perkins from the Shadow Defence team. Wayne David’s resignation means that there is currently no one in the Shadow Scotland team. See a round-up of the resignations and appointments here.

Tom Watson met with Jeremy Corbyn this morning, but it is understood he did not ask Corbyn to resign. The Labour leader will also hold meeting with several other Shadow Cabinet ministers this morning, including Nia Griffith, John Healey and Lisa Nandy, all of whom could ask Corbyn to stand aside “for the good of the party”, sources claim.

Speaking on the Today programme this morning Lucy Powell, who yesterday resigned as Shadow Education Secretary, said this was “absolutely not an organised coup”. Powell said the “strong and effective leadership that is lacking Jeremy lacking was brutally exposed during the referendum campaign”. She said that Benn was “cruelly and unnecessarily sacked in the middle of the night”, a move she describes as “the final straw”.

There have so far been 10 new appointments in the Shadow Cabinet, although all of them are promotions given to people already serving on the frontbench. It appears increasingly unlikely that Corbyn will be able to fill all of the frontbench positions, and may instead simply carry on with a complete Shadow Cabinet.

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