Labour's reshuffle an 'amazing distraction' says Lord Falconer


Labour's reshuffle has been labelled an "amazing distraction" by Lord Falconer as he said he would not have sacked Pat McFadden from the shadow cabinet.

The shadow justice secretary was asked on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show if he is going to peel away from the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn as some in the party have done following the reshuffle.

"No, I'm not," he said. "From where we stand at the moment the country needs an effective opposition.

"The floods, the junior doctors about to go on strike for the first time in 40 years, what's going on with Britain's support for the justice system in Saudi Arabia - these are issues that we should be focusing on and are just examples.

"We as a party, in the wake of the reshuffle which was an amazing distraction from all of these issues, need to be coming together and doing the work to provide an alternative to this Government which is a very bad government."

Mr McFadden was given his marching orders from his role as shadow Europe spokesman for apparent disloyalty.

Lord Falconer was asked if he would have made the same decision as Mr Corbyn.

He said: "The decision as to who is in and who is out of the shadow front bench team is entirely a matter for the leader."

But when pushed on the issue again, Lord Falconer said: "I certainly wouldn't have fired him."

Lord Falconer insisted the Labour Party remains a "broad church" but to be effective that broad church must not be "at war with itself" as he called for a "period of calm".

"There needs to be a period in which policy is debated internally," he said.

"In some respects the views that the leader has will definitely prevail, in other respects there needs to be our sleeves rolled up and proper policies put to the nation."

The shadow justice secretary also said he believes Mr Corbyn can become prime minister.

He said: "He became leader of the Labour Party, I think he can become prime minister, I think as long as there is an offer to the country that connects with the country."