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Appeal for unity as Corbyn election divides Labour

Several senior MPs refused to serve in the shadow cabinet of the newly-elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, prompting appeals from deputy leader Tom Watson and others for unity in the party that appeared to be have been energised by the leadership election.

world Updated: Sep 13, 2015 22:07 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of Britain's opposition Labour party. (Reuters Photo)
Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of Britain's opposition Labour party. (Reuters Photo)

Several senior MPs refused to serve in the shadow cabinet of the newly-elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, prompting appeals from deputy leader Tom Watson and others for unity in the party that appeared to be have been energised by the leadership election.



There was some confusion within the Conservative party on its approach to the new Labour leader, with some advising partymen not to attack Corbyn personally but his policies, while others would like the party not to under-estimate him.



Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday repeated his charge that Corbyn was a threat to Britain's national and financial security, while others in the party saw him as an ‘asset’ that would ensure a Conservative win in the 2020 elections.



Corbyn was scheduled to announce his cabinet on Sunday evening, in time for parliament session on Monday.



Watson told BBC on a Sunday programme that Labour MPs must respect the mandate and unite behind Corbyn. He said there was ‘zero chance’ of a coup from whtin the party against Corbyn, who will address the party conference later this month as its leader.



On several senior MPs refusing to serve in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, Watson said: “There’s always someone else that can do a frontbench job”.



A former Defence minister, Watson suggested that he had differences with Corbyn over the latter’s desire to scrap the Trident nuclear programme and take Britain out of NATO.



He said: "I need to be honest about where I stand on things. I think Nato has kept the peace in western Europe for half a century, and Jeremy has said that - but he's also said he's worried about the eastern expansion of Nato, and I think he's right to be cautious on that front”.



Watson added: "But we've got to work this out, you know, I've only been deputy leader for about 20 hours."