Labour’s out MP Chris Bryant demoted in reshuffle
Labour MP Chris Bryant is no longer his party’s most senior gay figure – having been demoted from his position as Shadow Culture Secretary.
Left-winger Jeremy Corbyn, who was formally elected to succeed Ed Miliband as Labour Party leader on Saturday, has been appointing his new team following an exodus of senior shadow ministers, including Yvette Cooper, Chuka Umunna, Liz Kendall and Tristram Hunt.
As part of the reshuffle, Chris Bryant, who until now was the party’s most senior gay politician, has been demoted from Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to Shadow Leader of the House of Commons.
The demotion comes despite the politician being offered a promotion to Shadow Secretary of Defence – a role that was eventually handed to Maria Eagle.
Mr Bryant cited policy differences with Mr Corbyn as the reason behind his decision to refuse the Defence brief.
He told the BBC: “I’m a sceptic about Trident but on NATO and on defence I believe that the first thing that a government has to do is protect its people.
“I worry that we have not got enough proper armed forces in this country to be able to defend ourselves.”
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Mr Bryant is one of the few existing Labour frontbenchers who have opted to remain part of the shadow cabinet under Mr Corbyn.
He explained: “I felt in the end that the Labour Party has to unite”.
His demotion means that Angela Eagle, who is now Shadow Business Secretary and Shadow First Secretary of State, becomes the most senior gay politician in the Labour Party – and the country’s most senior lesbian politician.
Mr Bryant was only promoted to the Shadow Cabinet earlier this year – and was accused of flirting with the Tory frontbench in a bizarre Commons exchange.
It’s not all love for Mr Bryant, sadly – the shadow minister had a notorious row last year with singer James Blunt, who branded him a ‘classist gimp’.
Mr Bryant was recently named among a number of MPs who claimed expenses to stay in London, while owning a property in the capital.