Jeremy Corbyn Confirms New Shadow Cabinet

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Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has confirmed the details of the new Shadow Cabinet.

Leader of the Opposition – Jeremy Corbyn

Deputy Leader, Party Chair and Shadow Cabinet Office Minister – Tom Watson

Shadow First Secretary of State, Shadow Business, Innovation and Skills Secretary – Angela Eagle

Shadow Chancellor – John McDonnell

Shadow Chief Treasury Secretary – Seema Malhotra

Shadow Home Secretary – Andy Burnham

Shadow Foreign Secretary – Hilary Benn

Opposition Chief Whip – Rosie Winterton

Shadow Health Secretary – Heidi Alexander

Shadow Education Secretary – Lucy Powell

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary – Owen Smith

Shadow Defence Secretary – Emily Thornberry

Shadow Lord Chancellor, Shadow Justice Secretary – Lord Falconer of Thoroton

Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary – Jon Trickett

Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary – Lisa Nandy

Shadow Commons Leader – Chris Bryant

Shadow Transport Secretary – Lilian Greenwood

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary – Vernon Coaker

Shadow International Development Secretary – Diane Abbott

Shadow Scotland Secretary – Ian Murray

Shadow Wales Secretary – Nia Griffith

Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary – Kerry McCarthy

Shadow Women and Equalities Minister – Kate Green

Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary – Maria Eagle

Shadow Young People and Voter Registration Minister – Gloria De Piero

Shadow Mental Health Minister – Luciana Berger

Shadow Lords Leader – Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lords Chief Whip – Lord Bassam of Brighton

Shadow Attorney General – Catherine McKinnell

Shadow Minister without Portfolio – Jonathan Ashworth

Shadow Housing and Planning Minister – John Healey

Strike of junior doctors is back on for next week

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The BMA has confirmed that strike action by junior doctors will take place next week after talks with the Government have broken down. There will now be a 24-hour walkout on Tuesday 12 January 2016 with further and longer action being taken later in the month.

Mark Porter, the Chairman of the BMA, said:

“We sincerely regret the disruption that industrial action will cause, but junior doctors have been left with no option. It is because the government’s proposals would be bad for patient care as well as junior doctors in the long-term that we are taking this stand”.

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, has said that he is asking ACAS to intervene in the process to allow talks to continue. He said:

“It is extremely disappointing that the BMA have chosen to take industrial action which helps no-one”.

Senior Labour figure criticises Ken Livingstone for wanting to sack Hilary Benn

Lady Janet Royall, the former Labour Leader in the House of Lords, has criticised Ken Livingstone after his surprise intervention in the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle. In an interview during the reshuffle Livingstone called for Benn to be sacked from his role as Shadow Foreign Secretary.

Royall, writing on Twitter, called his intervention as “an outrageous comment”. The full details of the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle have yet to be confirmed.

Sir Nicholas Macpherson to retire as Treasury Permanent Secretary

Sir Nicholas Macpherson is to retire as the Permanent Secretary at the Treasury after just over ten years in the role.

He had joined the civil service in 1985 and he served as the PPS to both Kenneth Clarke and Gordon Brown during the 1990s. He became the Permanent Secretary at the Treasury in August 2005 and he will retire from the civil service at the end of March 2016.

McPherson said:

“It has been a privilege to lead the Treasury through an extraordinary period. But after 31 years in the department, and having worked on 33 Budgets and 20 Spending Reviews, it is time to do something else while I still can.

With the fiscal strategy for this Parliament set and the economic recovery well established, now is the right time to stand aside and for someone else to guide the Treasury through the challenges ahead.

I pay tribute to the remarkable energy, creativity, resilience and decency of the Treasury ministers and officials I have worked with”.

Ken Livingstone Intervenes in Shadow Cabinet Reshuffle to Demand Sacking of Hilary Benn

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Ken Livingstone, the former Labour Mayor of London, has said that Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, should sack Hilary Benn from his role as the Shadow Foreign Secretary.  Livingstone made his intervention on BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme today.

Livingstone said:

“There is a problem if – as we had with the debate on Syria – our principle spokesman on that stands up at the end of the debate and puts forward a completely different line to the leader of the Labour Party”.

He added that:

“Allowing genuine debate is one thing, but all we had was days of press coverage about splits between Jeremy Corbyn and Hilary Benn. I think that’s counterproductive”.

Jeremy Corbyn’s office refused to comment on the speculation.

Government Expresses Disappointment Over Saudi Arabia Killings

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The British Government has reacted with disappointment after the news that Saudi Arabia had executed 47 prominent individuals. The action has also sparked a diplomatic issue with Iran and led to international concern about the killings.

Tobias Ellwood, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, criticised the killings and said:

“I am deeply disturbed by the escalation in tensions in the last 24 hours in the Middle East.

The UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty. We have stressed this to the Saudi authorities and also expressed our disappointment at the mass executions.

We have discussed with the authorities in Riyadh, and expect that Ali Al-Nimr and others who were convicted as juveniles will not be executed. The UK will continue to raise these cases with the Saudi authorities.

We are deeply concerned to hear of the attack yesterday on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. It is essential that diplomatic missions are properly protected and respected.

There are those who will wish to exploit the situation and raise sectarian tensions higher. This would be against the wishes of the vast majority of those in the region. I urge all parties in the region to show restraint and responsibility”.

Andy Slaughter, the Shadow Spokesman on Human Rights, said that the Government should consider its links with Saudi Arabia:

“It is not right that the UK should be actively cooperating with a justice system that shows such flagrant disregard for the most basic human rights and the rule of law”.

The UK Security Services Reviewing New ISIS Footage

ISIS have released new video footage of what they claim to be five British spies, who they executed. The video was introduced by a hooded figure and a young child who both spoke with British accents.

The footage lasted for eleven minutes and it threatened David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, for launching air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq. It is thought to be a continuation of the theme started by Mohammed Emwazi, who was killed by US troops in November 2015.

The British Government has said that the security services will be reviewing the footage, which has not yet been independently verified.

Prime Minister Announces Direct Intervention Into Housing Market

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David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has said that the Government will directly intervene in the housing market to encourage more properties to be built.

The initiative is to help reach the Government’s house building target and it hasn’t been used on this scale since the Dockland Regeneration in London in the 1980s led by Michael Heseltine.

Cameron said on the new policy:

“This Government was elected to deliver security and opportunity – whatever stage of life you’re at. Nothing is more important to achieving that than ensuring hardworking people can buy affordable homes.

Today’s package signals a huge shift in government policy. Nothing like this has been done on this scale in three decades – government rolling its sleeves up and directly getting homes built.

Backed up with a further £1.2 billion to get homes built on brownfield sites, it shows we will do everything we can to get Britain building and let more people have the security that comes with a home of their own”.

Peter Mandelson Blames Ed Miliband for Losing Labour the 2015 General Election

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Peter Mandelson, the former Deputy Prime Minister, has blamed Ed Miliband for not winning the 2015 General Election for Labour. Mandelson, who was elevated to the House of Lords in 2008, had served in numerous roles for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Writing in the Independent on Sunday Mandelson said, “Labour could have replaced the Tories in 2015”. He added:

“It was not that Miliband was too radical or left wing; if anything, his vague policies and insipid gesture politics simply left the voters not knowing what he was. Nor was it that he was too anti-business; the public are not in love with big business but they do expect a prospective prime minister to understand the fundamentals of the market economy”.

Six Cabinet Ministers tell Sunday Times that PM must quit if EU vote is lost

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The Sunday Times has reported that six Cabinet Ministers have told them that David Cameron, the Prime Minister, would need to resign if he lost the European Union referendum vote.

The referendum vote, increasingly expected to be held in 2016, will decide on whether the UK stays in the European Union or leaves. One Cabinet Minister, who wasn’t named, told the paper:

“If he loses in those circumstances, his position would be untenable. That is the view of half the Cabinet”.