Labour leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn has MPs in mind for potential shadow cabinet
PUBLISHED: 13:23 11 September 2015 | UPDATED: 13:23 11 September 2015
Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed he has sounded out fellow-MPs about forming a frontbench team if he wins the Labour leadership, and has names in mind for shadow chancellor and shadow foreign secretary.
The favourite to succeed Ed Miliband insisted he was not “scared” at the prospect of taking on his party’s top job after a career on the backbenches.
He insisted he will remain “a normal human being” if he wins on Saturday, and hinted he may reject some of the trappings of the office of leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition.
Mr Corbyn’s comments came after a rival for the leadership, Liz Kendall, effectively conceded defeat and made clear that she is likely to become a frequent rebel if the Islington North MP wins the ballot of 550,000 Labour members and supporters.
There were calls from a prominent Labour MP for an inquiry into the election contest – and those for deputy leader and London mayoral candidate – after claims that many activists did not receive their ballot papers by the deadline for voting at noon on Thursday.
Despite a last-minute dash to send out new voting papers, would-be mayoral candidate David Lammy said as many as one in five potential voters in the capital were unable to cast their ballot.
Speaking to Channel 4 News as he attended his 99th and last rally of the leadership campaign, Mr Corbyn said: “I’ve had many discussions with colleagues in Parliament over the past few days. There are many there who do not agree with many of the ideas I’ve put forward. I fully understand that.
“They also understand that whoever is elected leader – and we don’t know who it’s going to be – has a mandate that has come from the widest franchise there’s ever been for a Labour Party election. So there’s going to have to be some quite serious discussions about the way we do our economic policy and a number of other things.”
Mr Corbyn said he was “extremely confident” of being able to build a shadow cabinet. He said: “I’ve had many discussions with people already about how we are going to take these things forward.”
Pressed over whether he had people in mind for the most senior posts like shadow chancellor and shadow foreign secretary, he said: “Of course. There’s lots of things in my head, including that.”
Asked whether he would accept the Special Branch security, £135,000 salary and car which go with the office of leader of the opposition, the famously frugal, cycle-riding 66-year-old – who refused to get into the passenger seat for a TV interview because he “doesn’t like cars” - said: “All those things are up for discussion on Sunday. Do we get Special Branch bicycles?
“Of course I’ve thought all of those things, I’ve thought about the importance of doing the job, the importance of representing the party across the whole of the country, the importance of the parliamentary work and the importance of representing my constituency. All of those things have to be balanced, and also the importance of having a moderately normal life.”
When asked if he was scared at the prospect of being leader, he replied: “I’m very well aware of the responsibility. Scared? No.”
The result of the leadership election is announced tomorrow morning.