Labour's Owen Smith appointed as shadow Northern Ireland secretary

Labour's Owen Smith appointed as shadow Northern Ireland secretary

Owen Smith, Jeremy Corbyn's one-time leadership rival, is apparently going to be invited into the Shadow Cabinet.

Jeremy Corbyn's reshuffle is set to begin in the coming days following the leader's upbeat welcome as he returned to parliament to lead a larger group of MPs.

"Our party is now on a permanent campaign footing in anticipation of the failure of Theresa May's attempt to establish a stable administration with the support of the DUP". Otherwise, he has stuck with the group of MPs who were loyal to him following last summer's attempted coup, when nearly the entire shadow cabinet resigned in an attempt to force Corbyn to quit.

The party leader faces a dilemma over the scale of the changes, with several MPs urging him to keep faith with the team that propelled Labour to a surprise performance and 40 per cent of the share of the vote in last week's election.

Smith, who challenged Corbyn for the Labour leadership previous year, was one of four new appointees.

His new role was one of four new appointments announced as part of a modest reshuffle - with most existing shadow ministers expected to remain in their posts.

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"I am therefore appointing Ian Lavery, Co-National Campaign Coordinator, to the additional role of Labour party chair to strengthen our campaigning and party organisation, as we prepare to contest a new general election and form the next government".

The Pontypridd MP was a special adviser to Northern Ireland secretary Paul Murphy during Tony Blair's government, meaning he already has some knowledge of the job.

Ian Lavery, who helped co-ordinate Labour's election campaign, has been rewarded by being made party chairman.

In other moves, the newly elected MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Lesley Laird, becomes shadow Scottish secretary.

Gwynne has also been appointed as shadow communities secretary.

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