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Three West Midlands Labour MPs start policy assault on Corbyn

Three West Midlands Labour MPs start policy assault on Corbyn

🕔06.Nov 2015

Birmingham and West Midlands MPs from Labour’s centre ground have won policy making posts in the party machinery, raising further speculation of an stealth-attack challenge to Jeremy Corbyn.

Most of the MPs elected to chair Labour’s departmental policy committees are ideologically opposed to Mr Corbyn’s hard-left philosophy and would like to see the back of him before the 2020 General Election.

Dudley North MP Ian Austin, who said on twitter “I’m getting a little tired of the self-indulgent comfort-zone fantasy that Corbyn could ever persuade mainstream voters to make him PM,” will chair the party’s education committee.

Birmingham Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood, who quit the shadow cabinet declaring she “strongly disagreed” with Mr Corbyn’s economic policies, will chair the justice committee.

They will be joined by Birmingham Hall Green MP Steve McCabe, who is to chair the Home Affairs committee.

Former shadow chancellor Chris Leslie, who has said Mr Corbyn’s economic policy would result in “higher inflation and higher cost of living” which would hit “the very people we should be standing up for”, will chair the parliamentary party’s Treasury committee.

Pro-Trident MP John Woodcock will chair the Defence committee.

Blairite Tristram Hunt is to chair the Communities and Local Government Committee.

Only four of the 17 departmental committee posts were challenged – Education, Foreign Affairs, Housing and Planning, and the Treasury – leaving the centrist MPs a clear run in most cases. All but two of the new committee chairs backed either Liz Kendall or Yvette Cooper for Labour leader and none voted for Mr Corbyn.

However, the lack of interest in the positions may be a reflection of the fact that most hard-left MPs have already been given shadow ministerial posts by Mr Corbyn.

The Labour leader said during the leadership campaign that he wanted to make sure there was a “dialogue” between the backbench committees and Labour frontbenchers, and it seems that Labour MPs are also keen to make sure the committees play a more active role.

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