Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says Labour has a strong shadow cabinet following resignations and movement of MPs who disagree with him

James Nickerson
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Corbyn said reshuffles are never easy (Source: Getty)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has defended his reshuffle against claims that he abandoned his so-called new politics and instead returned to the old politics of splits and resignations.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Corbyn said a reshuffle is never easy and there's never a good time to do it, but insisted that "we have a shadow cabinet which is strong and we have a team which is strong".

In the aftermath of the reshuffle, Lord Peter Mandelson wrote in the Guardian that the Labour leader was an "intentionally divisive figure" and was "intent on splitting the party between the hard left and its centre ground".

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But when today confronted with questions on whether he had moved people who disagreed with him, Corbyn dismissed the idea that Maria Eagle was moved from defence because of her views on Trident.

Eagle is in favour of renewing Trident and was replaced by Emily Thornberry, who, like Corbyn, advocates a unilateralist position to disarmament. However, Corbyn said that Eagle was taking over the culture brief because there is "a lot of work to do" there.

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Corbyn also said he didn't move shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn - a move which was widely anticipated - because they agree on many issues, including human rights, despite disagreeing on air strikes in Syria. However, to keep the job Benn had to promise to agree with his boss in public.

On the sacking of Pat McFadden, Corbyn said McFadden had "distorted" his views on terrorism. McFadden was not happy with his leadership or the direction of the party, Corbyn added.

‚ÄčAlso speaking to BBC Radio 4, Corbyn failed to rule out speaking at a Stop the War coalition rally against Trident renewal in February.

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