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Labour's Cat Smith quits shadow cabinet over party leadership's refusal to reinstate Corbyn

LABOUR’S shadow youth minister Cat Smith resigned today amid a reshuffle, describing as unsustainable the party leadership’s refusal to readmit Jeremy Corbyn to the parliamentary party.

The Lancaster and Fleetwood MP, who has spent six years in the shadow cabinet, wrote to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer with a number of concerns about the damage being done to the party, and urged him to restore the whip to his predecessor. 

Ms Smith thanked Sir Keir for asking her to stay on but said that the strength of feeling on this issue from Labour members should not be underestimated. 

She wrote: “You will be aware that we had a meeting scheduled for later this week, during which I wanted to raise the issue of ... Jeremy not being readmitted to the Parliamentary Labour Party after he was readmitted into our party membership following due process.

“This position is utterly unsustainable and it is important that you truly understand how much damage this is causing in constituency Labour Parties and amongst ordinary members, a number of whom are no longer campaigning.”

Left-wing colleagues offered their support to Ms Smith, including Labour MP Mary Foy. 

The Durham MP said on social media: “Solidarity Cat. A great loss to the shadow cabinet but I know that your experience will be equally valuable on the back benches.”

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell described Ms Smith as a “principled, caring and honest person” as she stood back from the front bench.

Momentum said in a statement that the move was a “big loss for Labour’s front bench,” adding: “Cat Smith is right. Corbyn’s factional ‘suspension’ is tearing local Labour parties apart and must be reversed immediately.”

The resignation came as Sir Keir launched a reshuffle, which appeared to blindside deputy leader Angela Rayner. 

The shake-up took place as Ms Rayner was outlining Labour’s plans for an overhaul of the rules and procedures that govern politicians’ behaviour.

Allies of the deputy leader questioned why Sir Keir had chosen Monday to carry out the changes, just hours after she had insisted the party was focused on holding the government to account.

The saga will prompt fresh fears over the relationship between Sir Keir and Ms Rayner.

The reshuffle saw Jo Stevens move from being shadow culture secretary to replace Llanelli MP Nia Griffith as shadow Welsh secretary, with more updates expected as the Star went to press.

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