Chasing Shadows

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By Will Buckley on

Meet the two lawyer newbies promoted to positions in the shadow cabinet that Corbyn/McDonnell are too busy to occupy


There are promotions, and there are promotions, and Rebecca Long-Bailey (ex-Hill Dickinson) and Richard Burgon (ex-Thompsons) must have felt some of the glitter fall off their elevations to the shadow cabinet when it was rumoured just how many positions at the table were being taken by their dear leader and his sidekick.

As of this afternoon — and politics has been rather fluid recently — either Jeremy and John were said to be taking on board a dozen or so roles, including shadow attorney-general, shadow home secretary, shadow business secretary et al, in one of the great job grabs in political history. Who would have either of them down as arch-hyphenates? Do they trouser all the salaries?

Enough questions and back to the newbies. First to be appointed was Rebecca Long-Bailey (pictured top right) who was asked to step up as shadow chief sec to the treasury. Before becoming a lawyer she accumulated work experience by:

Over the years I have held many jobs; working in shops, call centres and a furniture factory.

At Hill Dickinson, according to her LinkedIn page, she has specialised in NHS contracts, NHS estates, commercial property and landlord and tenant.

All very laudable, although not necessarily entirely relevant. But what does that matter when you have passion as she explained to Dermot Murnaghan in a wide-ranging interview.

Next up was Richard Burgon (pictured top left) who celebrated his elevation to the role of shadow justice secretary with a bit of argy-bargy at a meeting of the PLP before storming out to address a crowd of what Dianne Abbott would doubtless describe as “non-Westminster centric” people gathered, in a classic example of hiding in plain sight, slap bang in the middle of Westminster:

I think everyone in the parliamentary Labour party can hear you shouting tonight. Cos I’ll tell you this, I’ll be quite open about it: some people don’t like shouting in politics. I do, by the way. There’s shouting going on out here, I’ll tell you this there’s shouting going on in the Labour party meeting too. So if they ever lecture you about bullying people for their political beliefs, I tell you — there’s people in there tonight behaving like bullies too and I tell you it’s not right.

At last, a shouty man at justice. All we need now is Ian Duncan-Smith to replace Michael Gove at the ministry, and justice questions could in future be billed as the Quiet Man v The Shouty One.