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Shadow Defence Minister quits in Trident stand-off.

Byline: Rachel Wearmouth Regional Affairs Reporter

SHADOW Defence Minister Kevan Jones has resigned from the Labour front bench in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet reshuffle.

The North Durham MP said he wants to make the case for the renewal of Trident from the back benches.

It comes after the Labour leader moved Maria Eagle from the role of Shadow Defence Secretary to Culture and replaced her with North London MP Emily Thornberry, who is in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament.

Mr Jones said: "Defence has always been an integral part of the Labour tradition, and we should always remember that it is an important issue to Labour communities across the country."

He said nuclear disarmament is an issue that has divided the Labour Party, but added: "However, as you know from our discussions when you appointed me in this role, I do not agree with this view.

"I have been clear and consistent that I believe it is the right policy for the country to maintain a minimum credible nuclear deterrent, while working to advance global nuclear disarmament."

Mr Jones also said in a BBC interview that Ms Eagle did not want to be moved. He said: "Jeremy was elected with the strapline 'straight talking, honest politics'. There's been nothing straightforward or honest about what's gone over the last 48 hours.

"Maria is now being briefed that this was her dream job, and she wanted to do it. That is not the case. She did not want to move - she made that point very clear."

The MP has also clashed with Ken Livingstone in recent weeks when Mr Corbyn put the former London Mayor in charge of the party's defence review. Mr Livingstone was forced to apologise after he said that Mr Jones, who has previously opened up about his battle with depression, "might need psychiatric help" after the Durham MP voiced criticism of his appointment.

Two other North East MPs have been promoted by Jeremy Corbyn.

North West Durham MP Pat Glass has been appointed as the new Shadow Europe Minister as the region looks ahead to the forthcoming referendum on the country's membership of the EU.

South Shields' Emma Lewell-Buck, meanwhile, became Shadow Minister for Devolution and Local Government.

The Tyneside MP, who was formerly Private Parliamentary Secretary to Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham, will play a key role in holding the Conservatives to account over the Northern Powerhouse agenda and as they devolve powers to bodies such as the North East Combined Authority.

Pat said: "I am delighted with the new role but do not under-estimate the size of the job. This is a crucial year with the EU referendum coming up.

"The North East is proportionately the biggest exporting region in Britain. We still manufacture things in the North East and we sell the things we make predominantly to Europe.

"Many thousands of jobs in the NE depend directly on our being part of the EU and many thousands more are indirectly dependent.

"A vote to leave the EU would be disastrous for our region, for jobs, for growth and prosperity, for research, for our universities & companies, for our place in the world.

"I want to see the EU reformed but I want us to do that with Britain leading within Europe." The move strengthens the North East voice on the shadow front bench and sees more women take a high-profile role.

But Mr Corbyn faced accusations he was using the reshuffle to exact revenge on his detractors.

Shadow Culture Secretary Michael Dugher, who had publicly spoken out against the regime a number of times, was sacked, while Blairite Pat McFadden also lost his position as Shadow Europe Minister, leading to the resignation of Shadow Rail Minister Jonathan Reynolds.


Pat Glass is the new Shadow Europe Minister

Kevan Jones, who is standing down as Shadow Defence Minister


South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has a new shadow cabinet role
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2016
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