Hilary Benn in last month's Syria debate with Corbyn at his side pic.twitter.com/Nulzb0u7A4
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) January 3, 2016
Reshuffles are tricky times for leaders
At present I haven’t seen any betting markets on Hilary Benn’s survival as Corbynâ€™s shadow Foreign Secretary but no doubt these will be opened. There could be three options: Benn stays in current role: Benn remains as part of top team but in a different role or Benn out of the shadow cabinet completely.
All this talk of a “revenge reshuffle” has done the new LAB leader no good at all because it has just raised the stakes.
By allowing the speculation over Hilary Benn to continue Corbyn has put himself in a position where he looks weak if Benn remains. But that could be less dangerous for him politically iI he’s portrayed to be acting out of “revenge”.
The best solution for the leader is for Benn to be switched to another top job – perhaps swapping, as the Times is suggesting, with Andy Burnham as shadow Home Secretary.
But the latter requires Benn to agree and he’ll be only too aware that that would make him look weak.
A sacked Benn out of the Shadow Cabinet cabinet could act as a focul point for the the large anti-Corbyn faction in the PLP who could be seen, by the media at least, as the alternative leader.
All this goes back to the decision to allow a free vote in the Syria debate.
Andy Burnham has not offered to swap jobs with Hilary Benn, source says in response to Times story. "No conversations/offers at all."
— George Eaton (@georgeeaton) January 3, 2016