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Jeremy Corbyn Sacks Michael Dugher For Being Critical Of Leadership

"Just been sacked by Jeremy Corbyn. I wished him a happy new year."

Originally posted on
Updated on

Jeremy Corbyn has sacked his culture spokesperson, Michael Dugher, for being critical of his leadership.

Dugher, MP for Barnsley East, revealed on Twitter that he had been fired by the Labour leader over what he had written in the media.

Just been sacked by Jeremy Corbyn. I wished him a happy new year.

Jeremy said he didn't like things I'd been writing (in defence of good colleagues & new politics). Well here it is https://t.co/prMdUislEe

Last week Dugher used a piece in the New Statesman to warn that a "revenge reshuffle" would go against Corbyn's pledge to bring people together from different wings of the party.

Dugher is the first casualty of Corbyn's shadow cabinet reshuffle, which is expected to be revealed in full later on Tuesday. He is a former Whitehall special adviser who was political spokesperson for Gordon Brown. Earlier this year he ran Andy Burnham's failed leadership bid.

Senior Labour MPs immediately rallied round Dugher, including deputy leader Tom Watson and shadow education secretary Lucy Powell. But it is unlikely that any shadow cabinet members will walk out in protest over Dugher's sacking, BuzzFeed News understands.

In a statement, Watson praised Dugher as a "rare politician – a talented working-class MP who hasn’t lost his strong Yorkshire roots".

The deputy Labour leader added: "Politicians with his ability and commitment can make a difference in any role. Labour's loss in the shadow cabinet will be compensated for by Michael's free thought on the back benches."

Powell echoed his sentiments.

Very sorry to see @MichaelDugher leave Shadow Cabinet. Michael is a formidable campaigner who provides an important & authentic voice.

In a statement, she added: "Him going is a loss."

Shadow home secretary Burnham was also full of praise for Dugher.

.@MichaelDugher is Labour to the core & has served our Party with distinction. He can leave the front-bench with his head held high.

As was shadow cabinet member Jon Ashworth.

I've been mates with @MichaelDugher since I was 16. Sorry to hear this news. I know he will continue to campaign hard for the party he loves

Oh, and Gloria De Piero.

In 20+ yrs of friendship i have seen @MichaelDugher tirelessly campaign 4 a Labour Govt. Sad 2 lose 1 from ordinary background from shad cab

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Vernon Coaker said Dugher would be "ferocious" from the back benches.

Really sorry to see @MichaelDugher leave Shad Cab. He will be missed!He will be just as ferocious attacking the Tories from the b/benches

And it wasn't just the shadow cabinet that rallied round. Dan Jarvis, a former frontbencher, said Dugher was a "great champion" for Labour.

Sad to see this. @MichaelDugher is a highly effective & authentic voice 4 working ppl & a great champion for #Labour https://t.co/bGFEhfFqxD

Chuka Umunna said it was a "big loss" to Labour.

If getting rid of the Tories & electing a Labour government to implement Labour values is your thing, @MichaelDugher is your man. A big loss

Former shadow minister Angela Smith was baffled by the decision.

Where's the broad church in all of this? Dugher is an effective communicator. Big mistake. https://t.co/PKgeSjSKh0

And so was ex-frontbencher Gavin Shuker, who pointed to Corbyn's promise of inclusiveness.

But Jon Lansman, who worked on Corbyn's leadership campaign, said it was right that Dugher was sacked.

It is not only @jeremycorbyn to whom @MichaelDugher did a disservice. His strategic errors ensured @andyburnhammp did not become leader

On Sunday, Dugher warned against a "revenge reshuffle" – saying the Labour party must remain a “broad church, not a religious cult”.

He told BBC Radio 5's Pienaar's Politics: "Reshuffles are a matter for the leadership. In my experience having worked closely with previous leaders there's a reason why they tend to be a bit reluctant to go down the path of big reshuffles.

"That's because they do try and hold the party together, they do recognise the Labour party is a broad church, not a religious cult, that you need people of different backgrounds and try and get the best possible talents. Ultimately that'll be a decision for Jeremy."

Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Emily Ashton at emily.ashton@buzzfeed.com.

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