For the first time in history there are more women than men appointed in the shadow cabinet, as Jeremy Corbyn fulfils his 50/50 promises of the election campaign.
Corbyn has stated that the cabinet is delivering, “a unifying, dynamic, inclusive new Shadow Cabinet which for the first time ever has a majority of women.” There are currently 16 women and 15 men within the newly elected cabinet.
Angela Eagle is to become the Shadow business secretary and Shadow health secretary goes to Heidi Alexander. Other roles to be filled by female candidates include Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Shadow education secretary, Shadow defence secretary and Chief Whip, amongst others.
However, Corbyn has received criticism over men fulfilling the four great offices of state roles. Andy Burnham has been appointed as Shadow Home Secretary, John McDonnell is now the Shadow Chancellor and Hilary Benn is the Shadow Foreign Secretary.
Diane Johnson, who is currently the Labour MP for Hull North, has openly criticized Corbyn for his decision on the social media platform, Twitter. She said, “It is so very disappointing – old-fashioned, male-dominated Labour politics in the top positions in shadow Cabinet.”
Corbyn has defended his decision, saying, “For Labour our proudest achievement is the creation of the NHS. We are the party that delivered comprehensive education. We are the party that founded the Open University, and that established and will defend trade union and employment rights. The so-called ‘great offices of state’ as defined in the 19th century reflect an era before women or workers even had the vote, and before Labour had radically changed the state.”
He goes on to argue that the real ‘top’ jobs are those involving education, health and employment – roles which have been filled by women.
Corbyn became the new Labour party leader over the weekend, but has already had to contend with a number of controversies. There has been a number of resignations including the shadow health minister Jamie Reed and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna. There has also been confusion and conflict over Corbyn’s policies, particularly due to his hard left views.