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Emily Thornberry ‘honoured’ after Islington colleague Corbyn appoints her to Shadow Cabinet

PUBLISHED: 12:33 06 January 2016 | UPDATED: 12:33 06 January 2016

Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn after they were re-elected in May

Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn after they were re-elected in May

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Islington is very much leading the opposition after Jeremy Corbyn’s first shadow cabinet reshuffle.

Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry, with Rabbi Mendy Korer, at the Jewish festival of lights ceremony in Islington Green last monthJeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry, with Rabbi Mendy Korer, at the Jewish festival of lights ceremony in Islington Green last month

Early this morning, the Labour leader and Islington North MP appointed Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry as shadow secretary of state for defence.

It marked Mrs Thornberry’s return to the shadow cabinet after she resigned from her role as shadow attorney general in November 2014.

While campaigning in Rochester, Kent, she had tweeted a photo of a house, draped in St George’s flags, with a white van outside. It was captioned “Image from Rochester” and led to accusations of snobbery.

But speaking to the Gazette this morning, Mrs Thornberry said she was honoured to return and serve under her friend Mr Corbyn.

“I am very excited. It is a huge honour to shadow a department where the forces, if necessary, are prepared to lose their lives for the protection of this country and its interests.

“I want to make sure Britain is kept safe. That’s my first priority. I want to hold the government to account and ask searching questions about whether its priorities are right in keeping Britain safe.”

She has taken the place of Maria Eagle, who was said to be blocking Mr Corbyn’s desire to oppose Trident, the renewal of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

Mrs Thornberry, 55, is known to also oppose Trident, and installing her was seen as crucial for the Labour leader, with a vote on renewing it due soon.

She said: “I voted against Trident. It follows on from what I just said about keeping Britain safe. We need to ask: ‘What is our place in the world?’

“There’s a huge question mark in my mind as to how efficient Trident can be.

“It’s a very 20th century weapon. Does it help us defend ourselves against 21st century threats? I want a proper conversation about what defences we need.”

Asked whether the latest shadow cabinet will be united amid Labour infighting this week, she added: “I think it should go without saying that if we are in a shadow cabinet, we are there as part of Jeremy’s team. And it’s a privilege to be there.”

Mrs Thornberry entered Parliament as Islington South and Finsbury’s MP in 2005.


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