Jeremy Corbyn has sacked two senior figures for “disloyalty” and installed a Trident opponent in the key shadow defence brief as he sought to get a grip on his top team.
After more than 30 hours of apparently bitter reshuffle wrangling, the Labour leader stopped short of dismissing shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn.
But he added Europe spokesman Pat McFadden to the casualty list alongside shadow culture secretary Michael Dugher.
Maria Eagle is being shifted from shadow defence secretary to replace Mr Dugher, having been seen as blocking Mr Corbyn’s desire to oppose renewal of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
Her berth is taken by Emily Thornberry, who is in line with the leader on Trident.
Installing Mrs Thornberry as defence secretary was seen as crucial with a key Commons vote on renewing Trident due soon.
Mr Corbyn could otherwise have again found himself at loggerheads with the shadow minister supposed to be presenting the party’s position in Parliament.
A source said Ms Eagle – who had clashed with former London mayor Ken Livingstone over a defence policy review they were jointly overseeing – had been keen to take on the culture brief.
Mr McFadden’s sacking follows that of Michael Dugher, who was removed from his position as shadow Culture Secretary.
The MP for Barnsley East, who ran Andy Burnham’s failed leadership campaign, claimed he had been sacked after speaking up for colleagues who had been “trashed” by members of the Labour leader’s team.
“I decided to speak out a number of days ago because what we’ve seen in recent weeks is a number of good hardworking loyal members of the shadow Cabinet being systematically trashed, in terms of their reputations, in their newspapers by people in the employment of Jeremy Corbyn,” he told the BBC.