Tom Watson's elected shadow cabinet: How would it work?
Labour Party's deputy leader wants to 'put the band back together' after 'bruising summer'
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson is attempting to push through a deal that would see shadow cabinet members elected, but would still allow Jeremy Corbyn to hire and fire frontbenchers if, as expected, he wins this Saturday's leadership election.
Watson has put forward two proposals: one that would see MPs choose the shadow cabinet and the other that would split the decision evenly between MPs, Corbyn and the party members.
He will raise the proposals at a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) today in a bid to get it on the agenda at next week's party conference, reports Sky News.
Speaking this morning, Watson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he wanted Labour to unite and "put the band back together" following the leadership election.
"We’ve had a very bruising summer," he said. "We are going to get a new leader elected on Saturday, we all think there is the likelihood of a very early general election and so we have got to put the band back together.
"For me, the heart of our party is the parliamentary party - they are the people that come on the Today programme to talk about our policies to the nation - and we have got to bring people back in.
"I think to have an elected shadow cabinet, not an appointed shadow cabinet, is one way we do that."
Allowing MPs to elect shadow cabinet members would offer a "dignified way back for a number of individuals, with Lucy Powell, Dan Jarvis and Gloria De Piero among those who could be persuaded to stand", says The Guardian.
Watson is likely to suggest giving Corbyn the power to remove frontbenchers as a means of preventing anyone from using the elections to try to destabilise the leadership, adds the paper.
The deputy leader also said he would be asking the NEC to look at the way the party elects its leader, but the changes would not come into place until the new leader had resigned.
"In the last set of reforms we had was some very rushed reforms and we created a new category of member, a registered supporter, which is pretty unpopular in all sections. We want to remove that and we also want to enfranchise more ordinary trade unionists in the new process," he said.
ITV's political editor Robert Peston says: "Watson's leadership-election reform proposals are not yet another attempt to unseat Corbyn. But a longer term plan to try and unify the warring parts of the party."