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Inside the most divided of shadow cabinet meetings

A source close to Labour's Lucy Powell told ITV News that Diane Abbott was 'offensive' at the table meeting. Credit: PA Wire

Doesn't sound like the shadow cabinet was a particularly chummy affair today.

It's true to say it was always going to be challenging given most of those around the table supported the airstrikes in Syria.

And leader Jeremy Corbyn didn't.

But the detail from one Labour source lays bear how unpleasant it was.

Apparently, Mr Corbyn read a pre-prepared statement at the start.

There were only four members who agreed with his position.

Shadow education minister Lucy Powell is understood to have exchanged harsh words with Diane Abbott at the meeting. Credit: PA Wire

One of them, Diane Abbott, was then "offensive" says my source to shadow education minister Lucy Powell.

The pair then exchanged some harsh words.

The leader wanted a whipped vote AGAINST airstrikes. And while many wanted a free vote, it's our understanding that 'a lot of those present' wanted the party position to be a whipped vote FOR airstrikes.

Which shows you how divided they were around that table.

The shadow cabinet discussed the issue of Syria airstrikes for 90 mins - at the end agreeing to disagree for now - and come back to the issue on Monday.

In fact, Labour's media team told us it was "a two-part meeting" which would conclude on Monday.

But then came the letter.

A letter from Mr Corbyn - concluding the Prime Minister had NOT made the case for more airstrikes.

It took all the shadow cabinet by surprise.

One said they were "furious" and "members might walk over this" claiming the Labour leader had been "dishonest".

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