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North East MPs named in Corbyn's shadow cabinet

Jeremy Corbyn has announced six further appointments to Labour's shadow cabinet, including Darlington MP Jenny Chapman and Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald.

These are:

  • Defence: Kate Hollern MP
  • Education: Jenny Chapman MP
  • Justice: Jo Stevens MP
  • Transport: Andy McDonald MP
  • Work and Pensions: Angela Rayner MP
  • Foreign: Fabian Hamilton MP

North East MP's letter of resignation from front bench

The MP for Durham North has quit Labour's front bench, because he disagrees with leader Jeremy Corby's views on Britain nuclear deterrent.

Kevan Jones MP wrote a letter to Mr Corbyn explaining why he thought he had to step down. He then published a copy of the letter on Twitter.

Kevan Jones' resignation letter. Credit: @KevanJones MP

Kevan Jones has served the Labour Party as a defence minister, and as a shadow defence minister in opposition.

He believes that Britain needs a nuclear deterrent, while his leader, Jeremy Corbyn, opposes the renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system.

Here is a transcript of his letter of resignation in full:

"Dear Jeremy,

I am writing to inform you that I will be standing down from my position as shadow minister for the Armed Forces with immediate effect. It has been an honour to serve the Labour Party in both government and in opposition. Defence has always been an integral part of the Labour tradition, and we should always remember that it is an important issue to Labour communities across the country.

"The issue of the UK's nuclear deterrent and how we progress the aim of nuclear disarmament has always been one that has divided opinion within the Labour Party. There are well-founded views on each side of the debate, and I respect those like yourself who advocate a unilateralist position. However, as you know from our discussions when you appointed me in this role, I do not agree with this view. I have been clear and consistent that I believe it is the right policy for the country to maintain a minimum credible nuclear deterrent, while working to advance global nuclear disarmament

"I am determined to continue making the case for Labour to have strong, credible defence and security policies, and I feel that the most effective way for me to continue to do this is from the backbenches.

"As you knew, on a personal basis we have always got on. I would particularly like to thank you for your campaign work around mental health, and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best for 2016."

– Kevan Jones MP's resignation letter.


North East MP resigns as shadow defence minister

Kevan Jones, the Labour MP for North Durham, is standing down as shadow defence minister.

In a statement he said he strongly disagreed with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on scrapping the Trident nuclear defence programme.

Kavan Jones MP Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images

Kevan Jones has been MP for North Durham since 2001.

In October 2008 he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Veterans at the Ministry of Defence.

In 2011, he was a member of the special Select Committee set up to scrutinise the Bill that became the Armed Forces Act 2011.

He was also a member of the Public Bill Committee for the Defence Reform Act 2014.

Ken Livingstone apologises to Kevan Jones on Twitter

Mental health campaign criticises Livingstone comments

The director of a mental health campaign has criticised Ken Livingstone for suggesting Kevan Jones MP should get psychiatric help.

Time To Change is run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness:

It’s as unacceptable to trade insults on the basis of someone’s mental health experiences as it would be on the basis of their race, gender or sexuality.

Kevan has been widely praised for opening up about his experiences and helping to make big strides against stigma, particularly in parliamentary circles.

We know that many people still feel uncomfortable talking about their mental health problems, and we would encourage everyone to consider the impact of using mental health related language that could fuel misunderstanding and stigma."

– Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change

Livingstone tells ITV 'if Jeremy wants me to apologise, I will'


Kevan Jones tells newspaper 'comments are gravely offensive'

MPs raised concerns about the decision to put Ken Livingstone at the top of a policy commission on defence issues alongside shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle.

Mr Livingstone hit back at criticism from Durham North MP Kevan Jones, who revealed his struggle with depression three years ago, telling the Mirror newspaper he should 'pop off' to see his GP.

"I think he might need some psychiatric help. He's obviously very depressed and disturbed," the newspaper reports him saying.

Mr Jones said the comments reinforced the stigma about mental illness. He told the newspaper: "I find these comments gravely offensive, not just personally but also to the many thousands who suffer from mental illness.'

Jeremy Corbyn has called for an apology to be issued.

Corbyn calls for apology from Livingstone after mental health comments

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has told Ken Livingstone to apologise after he suggested shadow defence minister Kevan Jones should seek 'psychiatric' help.

The former London mayor branded the MP, who has suffered from depression, 'disturbed' as a bitter row over Labour's defence policy erupted.

"Jeremy is incredibly concerned that people with mental health problems shouldn't be stigmatised. He has worked with Kevan in the past on this issue and is impressed by his bravery in speaking out on his own mental health issues. Ken should apologise to him straight away."

– A spokesman for Mr Corbyn

Kevan Jones reacts to Livingstone's 'psychiatric help' comment

Kevan Jones has denounced claims that he might need 'psychiatric help' as 'gravely offensive'. The comments were made by the former Labour Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, who has just been appointed to co-chair a review of the party's defence policy.

Mr Livingstone is reported to have said that the Durham North MP should 'see his GP' after Mr Jones, who has previously publicly spoken of his depression, questioned whether or not Mr Livingstone was the right person to help lead the review.

This morning Kevan Jones told ITV News Tyne Tees that "to use mental illness to attack somebody is completely unacceptable and gravely offensive". The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has released a statement calling on Mr Livingston to apologise.

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