Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron used a question on the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare in the House of Commons on Wednesday to mock Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s efforts to carry out what is called a “revenge reshuffle” in his shadow cabinet.
The reshuffle was supposed to weed out shadow ministers who did not agree with Corbyn’s hard-left views, but it ended up sparking at least two resignations (Stephen Doughty and Jonathan Reynolds), with more expected.
Replying to Stratford-upon-Avon’s Tory MP Nadeem Zahawi, who sought to highlight the 400th anniversary and invite people from across the world to Shakespeare’s birthplace, Cameron used the Bard’s words to much hilarity during Prime Minister’s Question Time.
He said: “I find that Shakespeare provides language for every moment.”
“There was a moment when it looked like this reshuffle could go into its Twelfth Night. It was a ‘revenge reshuffle’, so it was going to be As You Like It. I think we can conclude that it has turned into something of a Comedy of Errors; perhaps Much Ado About Nothing. There will be those who worry: Love’s Labour Lost,” he said.
Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, who had opposite views to Corbyn on Britain launching air strikes in Syria, was spared the axe, but only after he agreed not to publicly oppose the Labour leader in future.
Some Labour MPs reacted angrily to Pat McFadden’s sacking as Europe spokesperson for “issues about loyalty”. The only other changes in the shadow cabinet are anti-Trident MP Emily Thornberry replacing shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle, who moves to culture to replace the sacked Michael Dugher.
As observers questioned the need for a reshuffle in the shadow cabinet within a year of Corbyn taking over as Labour leader, others feared he may do more harm than Ed Miliband, under whose leadership the party fared poorly in the 2015 elections.